“Time is brain” – an emergency department nurse’s message for stroke awareness

Local hospital community outreach programme aims to improve stroke outcomes
Monday, November 21 2022

“Time is brain” – this is the life preserving and disability preventing message that Sr Stephanie Ajodhya, emergency department unit manager at Netcare Olivedale Hospital, shared on her recent visit to a local retirement village to raise awareness about acting fast if a stroke is suspected.

“Many of the patients whom we see in the emergency department presenting with strokes have come to us late. It is deeply saddening to see, as so often a life could have been saved or a disability could have been prevented had the patient arrived at a hospital in time to receive treatment,” says Sr Steph, as she is known.

“When a clot is the cause of the stroke and a patient meets the correct medical criteria, medication can be administered to break down the clot, restoring blood supply to that part of the brain. This can reverse certain stroke symptoms such as speech impairment, facial drooping and weakness in the arm,” she explains.

Pic: “Time is brain - every second counts when it comes to preventing disability and preserving life in the case of a stroke.” This was the important message shared by Sr Stephanie Ajodhya, Netcare Olivedale Hospital emergency department unit manager, on a recent community outreach visit.
Pic: From left to right: Sr Azrah Kadwa, registered nurse at the Netcare Olivedale Hospital emergency department; Wendy Mandindi, Angels Initiative consultant; and Eugene Ferreira, Netcare Olivedale Hospital general manager, were part of the team that visited a local retirement village on the recent stroke awareness initiative.
Pic: Pictured left to right at the stroke awareness community outreach event that took place at Maison d’Olivier Retirement Village are residents Angela Wood and Ilse Baldwin with emergency department doctor, Dr Sinethemba Leonard Lubelo who practices at Netcare Olivedale Hospital, and residents Miranda Wolhuter, Albert Juhnke and Anna Boysen’s.


“At Netcare Olivedale Hospital we are passionate about community involvement. I am all too aware that there is a knowledge deficit about stroke and I feel education is the key. This is just the beginning. My dream is to roll this programme out to other retirement villages in our surrounding community and beyond.”

Eugene Ferreira, general manager at Netcare Olivedale Hospital, who accompanied Sr Steph and her team on their first stroke awareness visit to Maison d’Olivier Retirement Village, says close to 40 attendees were already seated in anticipation of the talk and demonstration, which was followed by a lively Q&A session.

“The community of Olivedale and its surrounds relies on us to provide the best possible care and in the case of stroke intervention, the sooner a patient arrives here the better we are able to assist them. We are delighted to have Sr Steph spearheading this important initiative, which we hope will make a significant difference in the lives of many,” he concluded.

Sr Steph urges members of the community, particularly those over the age of 60 as well as people with hypertension, to familiarise themselves with the signs of stroke:

B.E. F.A.S.T

BALANCE         Difficulty in maintaining balance
EYES                 Change in eyesight
FACE                Face drooping
ARM                 Arm weakness
SPEECH            Difficulty in talking
TIME                Get help immediately – every second counts

If you suspect a stroke, contact an emergency services provider such as Netcare 911 on 082 911 or get to the nearest hospital’s emergency department right away.


Notes to editor

Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™  on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.

To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please visit or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.

For media enquiries, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:                                 MNA on behalf of Netcare Olivedale Hospital
For media enquiries contact: Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clementine Forsthofer
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