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Sensitization Activities

Sensitization Activities

A lot of attention is placed on education in our quest to reduce the effects of epilepsy on the individual and community. Sensitization is therefore aimed at these two target groups. The community may either support or alienate people with epilepsy depending on their beliefs andĀ attitudes with respect to the condition. There are many who believe that epilepsy is contagious and patients must not be touched even when having an attack. Over 50% of people also believe that epilepsy is due to demons or witchcraft that can only be addressed by traditional means. EASL therefore spend a lot of time and resource trying to dispel these beliefs. Posters, radio jingles, radio discussion programs, village community meetings and talks to schools, churches, mosques are regularly carried out. Every district has an Epilepsy Support Worker who is a social worker and has the task of talking to the community through schools, religious meetings etc and to get people with epilepsy to clinics.

For the patient with epilepsy, education is geared towards helping them to maximize the benefits of treatment. They are advised to take their medication regularly, to attend clinics, not to suddenly stop medications, to avoid alcohol and to sleep well. They are also made aware of side effects of medication such as skin rash, swelling of the gums, drowsiness etc.

Once a year special activities to mark Purple Day (the day now internationally recognized as world epilepsy day) are organized. In 2013 children were taken on a picnic to Bureh Beach. The purpose of this trip was to debunk the myths of demons inhabiting the beach and prevent people with epilepsy from participating in social activities in the beach area. At the same time increasing recognition of epilepsy within the local communities as this will in turn increase access to clinical treatment as opposed to the harmful traditional practices. Click here to read more and view pictures relating to the Burreh Beach trip.