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Health News of Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Source: GNA

Ghana rolls interventions to manage epilepsy

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) have embarked on an initiative to help address the management of epilepsy throughout the country.

The project titled: “Fight Against Epilepsy,” is aimed at reducing the treatment gap, integrate epilepsy care into primary health care and reduce stigma through community mobilization.

A statement issued in Accra by Dr Cynthia Sottie, National Coordinator Epilepsy Project GHS and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday, said the project has been implemented in ten districts.

The statement said so far over 4000 people living with epilepsy have gain treatment thereby reducing the treatment gab by one-third.

The districts are: Tolon, Kumbungu, Savelugu, Nanton, Ashiedu Keteke, Ho-West, Kpando, Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira, Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, West Akim and Birim Central, making five out of the ten regions.

It said since the inception of the project 700 non-specialist health care providers such as doctors, nurses, physician assistants, mid-wives and pharmacists have been trained in the management of epilepsy to curtail the canker.

It said the major obstacles faced by Ghana included the inadequate supplies, poor access to anti-epilepsy medications, lack of primary health workers, appropriately trained to diagnose and treat epilepsy, social stigma, misinformation, traditional beliefs and limited opportunities for specialty training in neurology to boost specialist numbers.

It thus added that the initiative has demonstrated that there are simple, cost effective ways to treat epilepsy in resource poor settings that can significantly reduce epilepsy treatment gab, adding that there was the need to scale up.

Epilepsy, a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures, affects more than 50 million people worldwide. 65 per cent of who live in low- and middle-income countries, the statement said

In Ghana however, over 250,000 people live with epilepsy though the treatment was effective for controlling seizures in 70 per cent of persons per year.

Despite this, it said four-fifth of people living with epilepsy in Ghana do not receive the treatment they need.

The statement said the epilepsy initiative in Ghana has provided important information and evidence to implement the 2015 World Health Assembly Epilepsy Resolution (WHA68.20) in other countries in the African Region.

It said the resolution urges coordination action at the country level to address its health, social and public knowledge implications and is a powerful tool to assist countries implements effective actions to improve medical and social services for persons living with epilepsy.

It therefore called for public awareness about epilepsy and allocation of resources towards epilepsy research.