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REPORT- 70 % OF PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY CAN LIVE SEIZURE FREE

WHO first global report on epilepsy

70% of people with epilepsy can live seizure free with low-cost and effective medicines according to a new report by the World Health Organisation.

The report, Epilepsy: a public health imperative, which seeks to encourage investment in reducing the disease burden, calls for the integration of epilepsy into primary health care and asserts that almost a quarter of epilepsy cases are preventable.

“This report presents encouraging evidence that almost a quarter of epilepsy cases are preventable and
70% of people with epilepsy can live seizure free with low-cost and effective medicines. As evidence from
multiple countries shows, it is feasible to integrate epilepsy into primary health care and thereby ensure
that all people with epilepsy have access to quality and affordable treatment and services,” the report states.

The epilepsy report is the first global report on epilepsy summarizing the available evidence on the burden of epilepsy and the public health response required at global, regional and national levels.

According to WHO, a lack of action to address the epilepsy treatment gap has dire
consequences for people’s lives and well-being, and impacts social and economic development.

“The burden of epilepsy is high and often neglected in public health agendas. Three-quarters of people living with epilepsy in low-income countries do not get the treatment they need,” the report says.

WITCHCRAFT, STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION

People living with epilepsy face devastating social consequences, including stigma, discrimination and human rights violations.

In most African countries, epilepsy is often associated with witchcraft.Stigma is a signifi cant contributor to poor physical and mental health in people with epilepsy
The report calls for a multipronged strategy, which is culturally appropriate, multisectoral and collaborative to tackle the stigma.

Misconceptions and poor understanding about the nature of epilepsy contribute to the burden of disease
and lead to stigma. This includes the perception of epilepsy as a form of insanity, ruining people’s lives,
and being untreatable or contagious,” the report says.

WHAT IS EPILEPSY?

Epilepsy is a brain disease characterized by abnormal electrical activity causing seizures or unusual
behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of awareness, affecting around 50 million
people of all ages around the world.

The risk of premature death in people with epilepsy is up to three times that of the general population, according to WHO.

EPILEPSY PREVENTION AND CARE

According to the report, an estimated 25% of epilepsy cases are preventable although the need is not met.

“Preventing epilepsy is an urgent unmet need. Effective interventions for prevention are available and delivered as
part of broader public health responses in maternal and newborn health care, communicable disease
control, injury prevention and cardiovascular health,”

The care needs of people with epilepsy are multifaceted and should be a matter of great concern for
policy-makers in all countries, as there are considerable gaps in policies and care available for epilepsy
worldwide.

 

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