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- It remains to be the most prevalent, neglected, and serious neurological disorder as well as one of the major causes of disability in Ethiopia.
- More than 1 million are estimated to have epilepsy (very conservative) with 500,000 would have active epilepsy (with seizure in the past 1-2 years).
- Out of the 1 million people are currently affected by epilepsy, of whom only 5% seek medical help, which means 95% are not receiving medical treatment.
- Inadequate state of epilepsy care in health institutions.
- Adequate medication is not available
- Inadequate/limited neurodiagnostic facilities
- There is a lack of skilled clinicians to identify and care for people with epilepsy, the total number of neurologists being 25 – or one per 2.5 million people.
- Many children with epilepsy grow up having a lower education level leading to no or low employment opportunities, leading to increased poverty.
- Lack of knowledge about the causes of epilepsy has been associated with negative attitudes, beliefs, and stigma in the community, workplace, and schools.
- Many patients are managed through psychiatric services, thus potentially compounding the stigma associated with the condition.
- Stigma and discrimination causing impaired physical, psychological and social functioning of those affected.
- Due to stigma, many people with epilepsy have lower employment and education levels and lower socioeconomic status.
The Causes and Effects of Epilepsy
- The high prevalence of epilepsy in Ethiopia is mainly believed to be due to:
- Poor obstetric care with a consequent increased perinatal brain injury
- The aftermath of cerebral malaria.
- The cerebral complications of endemic parasitic and infectious diseases, and fever
- Head trauma
- Poverty-related injuries and diseases