About a million Kenyans suffer from epilepsy, eighty per cent of which are in rural areas, the Kenya Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy has revealed. Interestingly, according the association, over 80 percent of those
epileptic (corrected by EpilepsyU) people who have epilepsy, do not seek treatment and shy coming out to talk about it.
Osman Miyanji KAWE chair said social stigma and negative prejudices were the major reasons why those suffering from epilepsy don’t seek treatments. “It is shocking that today over 800,000 people suffer from epilepsy, a condition that can be controlled and treated and its drugs even cost as cheap as one bob, but the problem is our people who associate and look at it as a curse,” Miyanji said explaining that in some families even parents hide their children with epilepsy symptoms which even become severe and cause brain damage instead of taking them to hospital to have it corrected.
Lack of government policy, poor drug compliance, and wide treatment gap due to low resources was impacting negatively on the fight against epilepsy in Kenya. “Apart from poor attitude and traditional beliefs, ignorance among our people is another key setback,” he said.
Miyanji who was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing first African Epilepsy Congress in Nairobi said called on the government through the ministries of health and medical services to raise awareness on the condition as well provide the needed medical care to the victims.