6 March 2018

Ethiopia: Curbing the Impact of Epilepsy

Information from World Health Organization (WHO) about epilepsy fact sheet indicates that "Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disorder globally and affecting people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and 80percent of them live in developing countries.

With treatment, an estimated 70percent of people with epilepsy can be seizure free, yet about three fourths of people in developing countries do not get the treatment they need. Furthermore, people with epilepsy and their families frequently suffer from stigma and discrimination.

There is no predicting when and where the epileptic might fall. It could accidentally happen at anywhere and anytime. One must be lucky to fall in a safe places; asphalt roads busy of traffic, offices, and flag hoisting ceremonies, as well as walking or talking with friends cannot save the person from falling. Thus, one's luck may expose one to other dangers or breathing one's last.

Establishing an epilepsy awareness and recovery center is crucial to bring into play a communication tool related with providing swift and friendly releases about preconditions and care needed to avert its impact.

Currently one million Ethiopians, more than 10 million Africans as well as over 65 million peoples worldwide live with epilepsy. It takes 3-5 minutes to wake up and regain self-control after falling. While falling down a person might be exposed to physical injury. Epilepsy, by itself, might not be that difficult but patients could sustain heavy injuries when they drop down off guard or out of a sudden.

The impact of epilepsy is increasing from time to time. But it is little attention accorded to it. It is prevalent everywhere and could rock everyone's life. An epilepsy affected person is exposed to several challenges due to the illness's unexpected grip. It may happen while one is strolling on pedestrian walks or zebras, one is working, attending classes, swimming and what not.

Care Epilepsy-Ethiopia Founder and Director Enat Yewunetu said that considering epilepsy as a mental disorder, people bring epilepsy affected persons to mental hospitals. "Doing so is not right. Epilepsy and mental disorder are quite different things. Now I am determined to address the problem opening Care Epilepsy-Ethiopia, a center that primarily works on epilepsy," she said.

She lives with epilepsy. She is highly committed to ease the challenges of the illness throughout the nation.

Epilepsy is incurable but manageable given continuous medical care and medical treatment on time. Currently, regarding epilepsy, a wrong perception prevails in Ethiopia.

The center is primarily organized to facilitate epilepsy centered awareness improvement across the country. It will work to avert exposure to preventable epilepsy during birth.

She relates her experiences as follows. "Hearing the death of mothers and sisters falling on fire while preparing food is a source of anguish. This was what I observed while I had traveled to the Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples' State of Ethiopia.

"Epilepsy affected persons always need a person who watches them with in an eye-shot. For example I am an epileptic woman and I am taking medicines properly and on time twice per day, with a gap of 12 hours. But if I forget taking it, you will find me on the ground. I know firsthand the challenges faced by epilepsy affected persons. The main reason for the establishment of this center is the little or no attention given to the epilepsy affected persons in the country."

Finally, she said that the center is doing with maximum effort to induce awareness on epilepsy. The center has organized a walk event, voluntary activities fund raising program, staging dramatic stories by portraying epilepsy affected persons as well as establishing platform to work with the ministry of health nationwide.

WHO also announced that it is working hand in hand with partners, health practitioners and stakeholders to improve health care access of epilepsy centers worldwide.

Epilepsy is not similar with other mental problems. It might occur during childhood or at other ages. The severe impact of the illness is affecting people not to freely move with and on time twice per day with a gap of 12 hour out of fear. It casts a shadow on their productiveness and being competent with fellow citizens. The establishment of such centers will have significance in facilitating hospitals and health sector practitioners. It as well contributes towards the betterment of epilepsy affected people's life.

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