Making Epilepsy a National Priority in African Countries (Phase 2)

UTETEZI PROJECT PHASE 2

BACKGROUND

The Utetezi Pilot Project, funded by the BAND Foundation in 2019, provided funding to five African countries to develop the groundwork to create national epilepsy task forces, the development and implementation of national epilepsy plans, and the introduction of educational initiatives to address the recommendations of WHO Resolution WHA68.20. The evaluation of the pilot project has provided direction and opportunities which will be harnessed in phase 2, where we will establish a communication plan, website and tool kit to share best practices. Phase 2 offers a small grants program to enable IBE chapters to develop plans at the national level and to work together to develop and disseminate a regional plan of action. This project is grounded in the core rallying principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – leaving no one behind. During its implementation, and in alignment with the commitment to sustainable development goals of regional governments, effort will be made to identify regional stakeholders to support the project cause. There will be the opportunity also to increase efficiencies and value for money through harmonized operations with the Promising Strategies Program, which are also supported by the BAND Foundation.

MEHPRI-Brochure

Making Epilepsy a National Priority in African Countries (Phase 1)

Aim

Advocating for the implementation of WHO Resolution 68:20 in African countries.

Background

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) General Assembly passed a landmark epilepsy resolution known as WHA68.20: Global burden of epilepsy and the need for coordinated action at the country level to address its health, social and public knowledge implications. This resolution is tremendously important in that it calls on all member countries to address epilepsy seriously by developing and implementing national plans of action. Despite this global declaration, none of the countries in Africa have developed an epilepsy national plan. There has been no political response nor has there been any financial investments in programs that could reduce the epilepsy treatment and knowledge gap at the country level. Previous international agreements like the African Resolution on Epilepsy (2000) were also never adequately implemented, despite research in some countries, such as Zimbabwe and Senegal, showing that the costs of managing epilepsy in resource poor settings were quite minimal.

Project Sites
Six countries were selected to run the project with more expected to join after the initial pilot phase.

Project Sites
Eswatini
Kenya
Mauritius
South Africa
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Funding
The Africa Regional Executive Committee (AREC) has secured funding from BAND Foundation for the implementation of projects to advocate for the implementation of the Resolution WHA68.20.

BAND funds epilepsy research with an emphasis on improving the current state of scientific knowledge and preventing epilepsy-related mortality.  The organisation also actively promotes epilepsy awareness and understanding.  This work is in response to the death in 2008 of Henry Lapham, the eldest son of BAND trustees Nicholas and Gardiner.  An otherwise healthy four-year-old child who had only just started having seizures, Henry died from a little understood phenomenon called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). For further details: http://bandfdn.org/work/epilepsy/