Tanzania: Relief As Moi Introduces Epilepsy Surgery

MUHIMBILI Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) has made a huge step towards fighting epilepsy among children after revealing it will introduce epilepsy surgery services this year.

The revelation comes on the back of a successful epilepsy brain trial surgery for a child patient performed by the institute recently.

The goal of epilepsy surgery is to eliminate seizures or limit their severity with or without the use of medications.

MOI Executive Director, Dr Respicious Boniface said plans were afoot to introduce the treatment services in full swing because the institute has already installed all the necessary facilities.

"After the services become available in full swing we're expecting that many children will be permanently cured," he said, noting that the plan was to operate 10 children every month.

He explained that the surgery was an advanced permanent treatment for epilepsy while a common way is through regular medication.

Epilepsy surgery provides an option when medications do not control seizures, a condition known as medically refractory epilepsy or drug-resistant epilepsy.

Once the service is introduced, Dr Boniface said it will cost patients between 3m/-and 4m/-for operation while the same service costs between 30m/-and 40m/-abroad.

He said the disease affects children, with statistics show that one out of 10,000 children suffer from epilepsy in Tanzania.

Unfortunately, awareness over the disease among members of the public remains low and Dr Boniface admitted that some parents send their children to traditional healers for treatment.

"We will make the proper treatment of the disease known to the public through the media and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children will also make good use of its channels to educate the public," he explained.

He advised that people should go to the hospital after getting first convulsion.

Dr Boniface made the revelations recently when speaking to information officers of institutions under the health ministry and a section of journalists who visited the institute as part of a programme dubbed, 'Tumeboresha Afya' implemented by the ministry.

On MOI achievements, the doctor said the institute made great strides in a short period of President John Magufuli's presidency.

He revealed that before the fifth-phase government came into power, the hospital had only one X-Ray machine but currently there are four full operating X-Rays machines.

Thanks to the purchasing of several modern operation facilities, the number of patients who receive operation services has increased from 400-500 to 700- 900 per month.

Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing convulsions or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

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