Epilepsy sufferers face ‘social exclusion’ in Pakistan

Epilepsy sufferers face 'social exclusion' in Pakistan
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Illustration of representational mind waves depicting grownup epilepsy. — College of California, Los Angeles

Yearly, Pakistan celebrates Worldwide Epilepsy Day on the second Monday of February. This 12 months, the day round this frequent mind illness will likely be targeted on the theme of ending the stigma that folks residing with epilepsy —  a crippling neurological dysfunction — face as a number of superstitions encompass the situation.

In a press convention carried out by the Neurology Consciousness and Analysis Basis (NARF) and Epilepsy Basis Pakistan, neurologists spoke about elevating consciousness and educating society in regards to the illness, as Pakistan has 2 million sufferers of the illness who battle with discriminatory societal behaviour.

Primarily based on a joint survey carried out by the 2 organisations, members of the presser — which included Chairperson EFP Dr Fowzia Siddiqui together with NARF’s Prof Dr Muhammad Wasay and Prof Dr Abdul Malik — mentioned that epilepsy sufferers face immense stigma. As an illustration, ladies who are suffering from this mind illness discovered it troublesome to type social connections, youngsters skip faculty on account of despair and social isolation.

Though 70% sufferers who obtain correct remedy have had seizures free life — however based on the survey — the social exclusion of sufferers is an issue that continues to persist.

The variety of epilepsy sufferers on the planet is 1%, whereas in Pakistan, it’s as much as 2%. Folks beneath 30 are mostly affected by the illness. In rural areas, epilepsy is extra prevalent with 27.5% instances compared with city areas the place the share of epileptic folks is 2.9%.

Epilepsy, just like different illnesses akin to diabetes and bronchial asthma, calls for steady drugs and correct remedy.

Sturdy superstitions concerning the illness exist in our society and affect sufferers. It was shared throughout the presser that it was difficult for girls affected by epilepsy to married with some both having their engagements referred to as off or getting divorced later.

Medical doctors acknowledged that the wedding or separation of sufferers with epilepsy elevated society’s burden in each circumstances. Sufferers, as a result of stigma of epilepsy, confronted challenges discovering jobs and buying admission to instructional institutes.

One other important downside is the provision of cost-effective medicines. In previous years, both scarcity or unavailability of cheaper drugs available in the market has positioned the burden of shopping for costly drugs on sufferers.

Costly drugs delay remedy and set off extra monetary stress on the affected person’s household. These drugs are primarily life-saving and if not taken on time, a affected person’s mind cells might begin deteriorating after every seizure. Furthermore, such mind cells can’t rebuild themselves after being broken.

The members on the press convention urged the federal government to make sure drug subsidies and sufferers’ entry to low-cost however high quality medicines.

In Pakistan, the prevalence of mind infections is likely one of the main causes of epilepsy akin to Tuberculous meningitis, whereas a head harm, mind an infection, blood stress, sugar, excessive salt consumption, and alcohol use might additionally set off the illness.

The illness can start at any age, additionally after 50 years. It might even be attributable to sickness or a scarcity of oxygen in early childhood. For the previous 50 years, hypertension, diabetes, and mind tumours have been the three major causes of epilepsy.

There are a number of myths and legends surrounding the remedy of epilepsy. As a result of affected person’s abrupt lack of consciousness on this situation, the physique undergoes extreme shocks and stiffness.

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