By Chisomo Phiri
National Epilepsy Association of Malawi (NEAM) says it will from November 1 to 2, 2023 conduct a walk covering a distance of about 60km from Mponela hospital in Dowa to Parliament building in Lilongwe as part of creating awareness of elipelisy stigma in Malawi, most especially towards the girl child.
Speaking in a separate interview,Chifundo Zamadunga, NEAM National Coordinator said they are also expected to submit a position paper to Parliament on the need to address epilepsy stigma in Malawi.
Said Zamadunga:” Yes, it is true that we have organized an epilepsy awareness walk. The main aim of the walk is to create awareness about epilepsy stigma,to initiate the IGAP discussion and to present people with epilepsy issues.”
The NEAM National Coordinator said the walk will be participated by various people including NEAM staff members, volunteers and people with epilepsy.
She then called on the general public to render their support towards the walk.
“Let us help those who have volunteered themselves to join the walk.Let us help to solve some of the challenges people with epilepsy face and all in all,let us donate what we have towards the walk,”she said.
Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disease and affects people of all ages.
More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy; nearly 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries.
An estimated 70% of people with epilepsy could be seizure free if properly diagnosed and treated.
However, about three quarters of people with epilepsy in low-income countries do not get the treatment they need, and this rises to 90% in some countries.
In many such countries, many health professionals do not have the training to recognize, diagnose and treat epilepsy.
In most resource-poor countries, antiseizure medicines are not available.
People with epilepsy and their families frequently suffer from stigma and discrimination.
In many parts of the world the true nature of epilepsy has also long been distorted by myths, fear and mistaken notions about the disorder.