African governments called to act
By Branton Matondo
Shortage of medication or proper surgical attention to curb epilepsy has become a huge burden in Africa, an unfortunate feat that has put an estimated 7.5 million Africans at risk, Post On Sunday reports.
Data presented by Epilepsy Alliance of Africa (EAA), a pan African embodiment of professional doctors, institutions, and social work doyens indicate that challenges brought about by epilepsy are huge both in low to medium income Africa countries.
Prevalence of epilepsy in Africa frequent rural and peri urban areas where proper medication and surgical setups are non existent.
Further inquiry revealed an estimated 10 million Africans are epileptic.
Misconceptions continue to shroud passing of information about epilepsy with 70 % Africans occupying the knowledge gap while 30 % have an understanding of the neurological whereabouts.
Epilepsy Alliance Africa (EAA) President Taurai Kadzviti said the major cause for such a high percentage misconception and lack of knowledge.
“With regards to the 75 % treatment gap, l think you are very much aware of the fact that low to middle income countries face a plethora of challenges when it comes to accessing medical support. With epilepsy now, because of the stigma and misconception there is very little attention that is given hence creating a treatment gap.”
In a statement released by Epilepsy Alliance Africa (EAA) during Epilepsy Week commemorated from the 18th to 22nd of September a huge percentage of people are unable to access proper medication and surgical attention.
“Only about 25% (2.5 million) are on medical treatment, giving a treatment gap of 75% (7.5
million). Out of those 2,5 million who are on medical treatment, we estimate that only about 25% (625 000) have access to medicines and
o Only 5% (125 000) have access to specialist treatment.”
Kadzviti called African governments to provide more attention on people with epilepsy as they are battered left, right and center by social and medical mishaps.
“There is need for government’s in Africa to come up with management policies that will be used to manage epilepsy just like in mental health.”
Latest reports by the ministry of health indicate that 2% of Zimbabwe’s population is epileptic.
Kadzviti dubbed the reports an ‘understatement’ citing that there are more people with the neurological disorder.
“Zimbabwe has two neurologists and three specialists physicians in neurology for a population of (- +) 17 million. Official reports from the ministry of health indicate that 2% of the population in Zimbabwe is epileptic but that’s an understatement because epilepsy has a minimum of 20 variations and it is not all that visible.”
Post On Sunday caught up with EAA Secretary General Chantal Kanyabutembo who is based in Rwanda.
She said even though statistics are born chilling efforts are being put in place to curb this health predicament.
“We are building through this Alliance a hub of profession neurophysician qualified in Africa and Eastern Mediterranean as ILAE to review cases of patients under drugs resistance through telemedicine consultant, digital health by providing training online and face to face to our local practitioner.”
EAA has been spearheading webinars, online engagements, and most importantly physical training of nurses latest being Chitungwiza General Hospital course which facilitated the training of many nurses across the field.
Epilepsy is a medical condition which causes patients to experience surges of electrical electrically activity in the brain causing recurring seizures.