Epilepsy in SierraLeone
The Epilepsy Association of Sierra Leone is a local Nongovernment Organization (NGO) that was established on the 3rd of December 1999 by persons with epilepsy, families and sierra Leonean with passion for people with epilepsy. EASL is registered with the Sierra Leone’s ministry of social welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in the year 2000, with the Sierra Leone Union on Disabilities Issues (SLUDI) on the 27th of february2001 and with the international Bureau for epilepsy (IBE) on the 31st of August 2005.
The overall goal of EASL is to:
- Ensure epilepsy is seen as a medical condition requiring treatment.
- To carry out awareness raising campaigns, workshops and seminars in order to provide accurate information about the disorder.
- To ensure the availability of antiepileptic medication and
- Coordinate outreach activities by providing social support and advocacy for those affected by epilepsy.
The Epilepsy association of Sierra Leone is the Umbrella body supporting over 3,000 people affected by epilepsy in Sierra Leone. The work of the Association is recognized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation by the use of its facilities and training of Health workers employed by the Ministry. The association is chiefly running on the enthusiasm of volunteers for over a decade and delivers an ambitious programme of support to persons with epilepsy and their families.
Community Health Workers (CHO) employed by EASL travels the length and breadth of the country every month to distribute antiepileptic drugs and educating patients, families and communities on the causes and medical treatment of epilepsy.
A network of thirteen (13) District epilepsy support workers ( social workers) gives help and support to patients and families at homes, work places, churches, mosques, schools and clinics to dispel myths, misunderstandings and encourage people with epilepsy to come forward to access treatment. EASL has a voluntary consultant Neurologist in its membership, two medical Doctors and two trained epilepsy Nurses to carry out clinical activities including electroencephalogram (EGG) recordings. In addition EASL has a gender officer to ensure issues relating to gender are efficiently dealt with. EASL runs a helpline, drop in centre and a vocational training centre in Freetown.