‘Show care to persons suffering from epilepsy’

Ghanaians have been advised to be open and caring to persons who suffer from epilepsy as the disease was not the result of curses placed on them.

Mr Mike Amon-Kwafo, founder and convener of the Epilepsy Foundation Ghana (EFGh), who gave the advice said, persons with epilepsy were victimised wherever they went, even to the extent of being bound to trees.

Speaking at the International Epilepsy Day celebration in Accra yesterday, Mr Amon-Kwafo stated that it was time the media focused more “on social issues like this rather than always focusing on political issues”.

He added that through the media, Ghanaians could be educated on epilepsy, what persons with the disease go through and how to care for them.

“Epilepsy is not hereditary and can affect anyone, so let us be aware of the disease, so that we can help our affected friends,” Mr Amon-Kwafo said.

The international theme for the day, he noted, was “Friendship and Inclusion”, however, “we have added ‘out of the closet’ to show that we want epilepsy to be known far and wide, so that everyone will know of it and the stigma around it can end”.

Dr Albert Akpalu, Head of Neurology at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, in his remarks, called for healthcare practitioners to provide care and emotional support to persons with epilepsy as most of them often suffered mistreatment from those around them.

He said in Ghana, there was a rising number of persons with the disease, “and unless we educate more people on it, these persons would have a hard time dealing with the physical and emotional trauma that epilepsy carries”.

Dr Akpalu added: “In most of the cases I receive, the family of the person with epilepsy had no idea what was wrong with the victim, and in other cases, some families who do know would prevent the person from going out, so he or she will not be branded as a cursed person.”

He cautioned families to be open about whatever medical issues they faced, adding that, although epilepsy is caused by the malfunction of the brain cells, you don’t need to see a neurologist for help, but could see any medical professional for aid.

“There are about 21 different medications for epilepsy, so it can be cured,” he added.


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