International Epilepsy Day is an annual event organized by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) to raise awareness about epilepsy and its impact on individuals, families and communities around the world.

Epilepsy affects almost every aspect of the life of the person diagnosed with the condition. For many people living with epilepsy, the stigma attached to the condition is more difficult to deal with than the condition itself.

Misconceptions and myths often contribute to the stigma surrounding epilepsy. For example, many people assume that epilepsy is a mental illness, that it limits activities, or even that epilepsy is contagious.

This year’s International Epilepsy Day campaign seeks to dispel these myths. By sharing facts about epilepsy, we will challenge public misconceptions about epilepsy.

It’s important to educate ourselves and others about the facts about epilepsy and to dispel these myths and misconceptions. This can help to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with epilepsy and ensure that they have access to the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.

Below are some of the highlights from different countries in Africa;


Athletics Eswatini Epilepsy Organisation hosted the Yellow Epilepsy Half Marathon at Mpaka Epilepsy Centre. The 50 Million Steps For Epilepsy initiative saw over 600 people participate in the event, while 476 individuals completed the steps. In total, they covered 6,200,200 (6.2 million and 200 steps), calculated from a combination of 82 (21km) runners, 194 (10km) runners, 102 (5km) runners, and 98 participants in a one-hour aerobics session.


The National Epilepsy Association of Malawi had eight people walk a total of 315Kms from Blantyre city in the southern region to Lilongwe, the capital, covering a total of 6,614,8123 steps. The individuals walked through rain and other conditions. On the 16th, the National Epilepsy Association of Malawi, together with the Ministry of Health, held the International Day of Epilepsy, attended by over 4000 people in Ntchis District. IBE Africa had a Pavilion and shared the Advocate Toolkit with the Minister as the Malawian Epilepsy Ambassadors.


CODEF Cameroon raised awareness on “Stigma” in schools, both primary and secondary, churches, and among journalists. CODEF granted interviews to journalists on print media and radio. Journalists and bloggers carried out “Stigma” awareness raising with photos that were posted on their social media platforms against a small data bundle of USD 2, thanks to support from one of CODEF’s friendly organizations, Edycs Epilepsy Support group Mauritius. At EpiHope groups in Bambili village, PWE had a sensitization conversation on stigma. They shared their experiences among themselves and discussed ways of fighting stigma. PWE, families, and friends of CODEF carried out the #50MillionSteps campaign.

Sierra Leone:

The celebration started with a beach outing for persons with epilepsy and other neurological disorders to dispel myths and reduce stigma attached to the condition. EASL will tackle the knowledge gap about epilepsy in three hubs: Bo in the south, Kabala in the north, and Freetown in the western area. A town hall meeting was conducted on Monday, the 13th, with full media coverage and stakeholders’ participation to make their commitment. The media captured traditional healers, persons with epilepsy, and parents.


EDYCS Rodrigues team had a 50 million steps campaign. Pupils with epilepsy and staff walked to celebrate IED and 50 million steps in the morning. The Edycs Epilepsy Group marked IED by organizing a multi-stakeholder forum in the morning covered by MBC National TV.


KAWE commemorated International Epilepsy Day 2023 in Machakos County on the 13th of February with the theme 50 Million Steps Against Stigma. KAWE has an MOU with the County which was signed in the presence of Dr. Daniel Yumbya, EBS-County Executive Committee Member (CECM), the County Health Management Team, and the KAWE team led by the Chairman, Dr. Osman Miyanji, on the 23rd of January 2023. The MOU is the foundation set for the domestication and ratification of IGAP. The aim is to bridge the epilepsy treatment gap through a community participatory approach. Working with communities to bring awareness to ensure that people with epilepsy are in a more inclusive society where barriers like access to treatment, medication, and accurate knowledge on epilepsy are available for epilepsy management.

Kenya – Shine Epilepsy:

Shine Epilepsy Support team took part in the #50MillionSteps campaign.

Together they walked more than 2 million steps to raise awareness and stamp out stigma.

They finalized the campaign at Karura Forest where they did 15km walk. They also had a session on epilepsy facts and stigma affecting many people in Kenya.

Shine Epilepsy continues to raise awareness and shine a light on epilepsy.



In Tanzania Parents of Children with Epilepsy and  Tanzania Epilepsy Association had a celebration with the Tanzania Epilepsy Organisation and Ministry of Health  celebrated International Epilepsy day with different stockholders in Dar Es Salaam.


In Zambia, the Ministry of Health played the Documentary that was produced by Epilepsy Association of Zambia commemorating the International Epilepsy Day.

South Africa:

Epilepsy South Africa arranged our first-ever Indaba on 15 February 2023 in Johannesburg, with the ability to join in person or through a Zoom link.  Our speakers included some of the top professionals in their industry, including Dr Pradeep Rowji, Phuti Mabelebele, Dr Thea van der Merwe, Ruvimbo Shiri and Sharlene Cassel.  We finished our evening of joining together to #StampOutStigma with a candle-lighting ceremony at multiple locations around the country, with the main event being hosted at Dainfern Estate in Johannesburg.  This allowed people to the opportunity to ignite the flame of potential for people living with epilepsy and have a visual representation of coming together as a community to support and lift up persons with epilepsy.

We were lucky enough to be able to include information brochures to include for all attendees and the branches around the country, which could be shared with the community and those involved in each of the events.