Dr Wan Asyraf Wan Zaidi - pic via Facebook

Neurologist Dr Wan Asyraf Wan Zaidi is the first Malaysian ever admitted to the inaugural World Stroke Organisation’s Future Stroke Leaders Programme (WSO FLP), a global initiative to equip early-career clinicians, educators, and researchers with an understanding of the key challenges concerning stroke care.

Dr Wan Asyraf, 35, vice-chairman of the Malaysia Stroke Council and a clinical lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) in Kuala Lumpur, is one of the 32 candidates selected out of the 113 applications received by the WSO.

His experience as the national lead investigator for several multi-centre clinical trials stood him in good stead to qualify and be selected into the WSO FLP.

The two-year programme, which began this month, will equip these career clinicians and researchers with an in-depth understanding of the key challenges in the disease and how these challenges can be addressed within diverse stroke care systems.

“I hope with my involvement in this programme, together with international experts in stroke (care), I will be able to develop a better system and to provide the best high-quality care for stroke patients in the ASEAN region, Malaysia and specifically in our hospitals.

“I am very excited to work with mentors and other colleagues. Together, we will be presenting our project in the next World Stroke Congress 2021 and 2022. I would also like to express my appreciation to HCTM, UKM and Malaysia Stroke Council team for their endless support,” he told Bernama in an interview, here recently.

He said the programme would also allow him to be involved in the most recent comprehensive, multidisciplinary discussions on stroke prevention, stroke awareness, stroke treatment and rehabilitation planning.

“(I will be) the first cohort, not only in gender and regional balance with an uphill task of being the ambassador of the World Stroke Organisation, as well as the World Stroke Academy, to ensure continuous efforts (are being made) in improving stroke care in this region and, specifically for me, in Malaysia. It’s definitely an honour to be selected as the first Malaysian for this programme,” he added.

In March, the WSO invited applications for WSO FLP from individuals under the age of 40 with the potential to lead the transformation of stroke prevention, treatment and support at national, regional and global levels.

Despite the challenges due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, 113 applications were received namely from Asia (34), Africa (23), Europe (23), South America (21), North America (seven) and Australasia (five).

A selection committee comprising Stroke Leaders, led by Professor Werner Hacke, Professor Valeria Caso and Professor Christopher Chen, interviewed all shortlisted applicants before 32 early-career clinicians and researchers, evenly divided by gender and geography with a diversity of backgrounds, were finally admitted to the first WSO FLP.

The curriculum, which will leverage on the WSO’s World Stroke Academy, led by its new editor-in-chief Gustavo Saposnik, encompasses the stroke care continuum from prevention, acute treatment, post-stroke care through to rehabilitation and will support the development and exercise of key skills including research and peer review, writing for publication, care quality improvement tools, multidisciplinary collaboration, project design and management and stroke advocacy. – Bernama

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