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13 February 2017

75% of epilepsy sufferers in Ghana do not have access to treatment – Doctor

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Doctors at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital have made a startling revelation that 75 percent of epilepsy sufferers in Ghana do not have access to treatment.

Head of the Neurology Department at the Hospital Dr Albert Akpalu says not much attention has been given to epilepsy in Ghana.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness or convulsions is one disease that makes carriers lonely in society.

It is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well.

Speaking on the AM Show on JOYNEWS on the Multi TV channel, Dr Akpalu disclosed that only seven active neurologists are specially trained to handle this disease.

“Because of access to care, a lot of people with epilepsy do not get treatment as the access points are concentrated where they are hard to reach and people cannot afford treatment,” he said.

He added that “there are also not enough trained personnel so we technically we cannot attend to all the persons with the disease. We have the mental health authorities – psychiatrists – who also help in taking care of the patients but even that is not enough.”

According to him, they have gone further to train community psychiatric nurses who go into the community in Ghana’s fight against epilepsy programme to help reduce the treatment gap and as well as the burden of the disease.

Some facts about the disease;

– Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages

– Epilepsy means the same thing as “seizure disorders”

– Epilepsy is characterized by unpredictable seizures and can cause other health problems

– Epilepsy is a spectrum condition with a wide range of seizure types and control varying from person-to-person

– Public perception and misunderstanding of epilepsy causes challenges often worse than the seizures

 

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