Migraine: The Painful Truth – World Brain Day 2019 in Pakistan

By Dr. Abdul Malik, MD, DCN, PGDN, MBA

The Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF) in Pakistan organized countrywide activities to mark the fifth Annual World Brain Day, with the theme Migraine: The Painful Truth. Migraine affects one in seven people and, together with other headache disorders, is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

Besides countrywide awareness activities in all four provinces across Pakistan, NARF organized the majority of its activities in the largest city of Karachi. Flyers about migraine were distributed for the general public in the family medicine clinics. NARF also prepared migraine signs/ symptoms/ treatment/ diet and lifestyle modifications awareness mounts, which were placed in 1,000 clinics across the country. A month-long Facebook campaign as well as Twitter activities were executed by placing video messages and awareness posts in local languages as well as the matter provided from the WFN. World Brain Day posters were placed in almost all the major institutes and departments of neurology in Pakistan.

On July 22, under the aegis of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) in association with the International Headache Society (IHS), NARF celebrated the Fifth Annual World Brain Day with a free migraine clinic and press conference by the renowned neurologists of the country, including Prof. Mohammad Wasay, NARF president; Prof. Aziz Sonawala; former PHS president; and Profs. Arif D. Herakar and Dr. Abdul Malik from the Liaquat College of Medicine & Dentistry in Karachi. In the free migraine clinic, which was held at the Karachi Press Club, a large number of patients attended. They were provided free consultation as well as provided medications for the prophylactic treatment of migraine.

A unique activity was conducted for the awareness of migraine in collaboration with the students of the Masters for the Headache Disorders (MHD) from the University of Copenhagen and Danish Headache Center in Denmark. This activity was done under the patronage of the Prof. Rigmor Jenssen, course director. We had prepared and disseminated messages on migraine awareness provided by the WFN. This included almost 20 videos messages in 16 languages from 14 countries (Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.).

On July 31, 2019, a Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity on #migraine #thepainfultruth: Diagnosis & Management was held at Liaquat College of Medicine & Dentistry (LCMD) in context with #worldbrainday. Prof. M. Wasay, Prof. Aziz B. Sonawala, and Associate Prof. Dr. Abdul Malik were the speakers. Prof. Rizwan Azami, director of medical services DSH, and Dr. Rashid Naseem Khan, principal LCMD, were the guests of honor. A large number of undergraduate students, postgraduate trainees, and faculty members attended the interactive session.

The awareness activities were covered in national and local newspapers as well as in the electronic media. There were TV shows on migraine for public interest as well a question-and-answer session about migraine signs and symptoms and treatment. In the Urdu language, an article was published in a local magazine about the awareness of migraine.

In short, a comprehensive advocacy campaign for migraine awareness was executed on the occasion of this year’s World Brain Day 2019 in Pakistan, keeping in view that migraine is the most common neurologic disorder that is treatable.

Dr. Abdul Malik, MD, DCN, PGDN, MBA, is associate professor of neurology in Karachi, Pakistan.