REGIONAL LAUNCH OF THE ADVOCATE’S TOOLKIT FOR REDUCING EPILEPSY STIGMA IN AFRICA
In Africa and all over the world, persons with epilepsy are targets of discrimination and human rights violations. In many communities, misconceptions about epilepsy have existed for centuries, and epilepsy is not considered a medical condition that can be treated but rather a spiritual or religious affliction. From the belief that seizures are contagious (leading to isolation and an unwillingness to intervene in preventing seizure related injury) to the perception that epilepsy is caused by witchcraft or supernatural forces (leading families to seek care from traditional healers rather than hospital or clinic-based providers), misunderstandings abound. Because of these attitudes, seizures are met with fear, and persons with epilepsy are often prevented from attending school, marrying, driving, or seeking employment. Often traditional healing practices, such as dietary restrictions (e.g., avoiding chicken wings or okra), a prohibition against gazing at the moon, or special rituals, are recommended, which serve to delay treatment that might otherwise be received from healthcare providers at hospitals or clinics. The emotional impact of feeling socially excluded contributes to the burden of epilepsy and can delay or prevent people from seeking care and effective treatment.
[Advocates Toolkit for Making Epilepsy a Health Priority in Africa 2021]
Date: 14th of September, 2022
Time: 3:00 PM (Pretoria Time – South Africa)