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Epileptic patients asked to seek medical attention

Epileptic patients have been urged to seek medical attention in hospitals and shun misconceptions regarding epilepsy.

Stephen Kimwaki, a Clinical mentor and trainer on Non- Communicable- Diseases (NCD), said many people in Homa Bay are not well-informed about epilepsy and hence attribute it to witchcraft.

He said that it is for this reason that 80 per cent of the 2 million epileptic patients in Kenya do not seek medical treatment in hospitals.

Kimwaki, who spoke to the media today, asserted that lack of knowledge about the disease is a major contributing factor to stigmatisation.

“This is also the reason why a number of epileptic patients are not aware that they have the condition because they tend to shy away from hospitals,” he noted.

He noted that epilepsy medications are expensive and most patients cannot access them, and he called upon the government to inject more funds into the health sector for procuring the medicines.

John Omondi, a medical practitioner at Homabay Referral Hospital, reiterated that most people believe epilepsy is associated with witchcraft and demystified this notion.

“Epilepsy is not contagious; it is not witchcraft; it is a medical condition that can only be controlled medically,” he affirmed.

One of the epileptic patients, Lavina Akinyi, said she previously had suicidal thoughts due to stigmatisation but overcame them after seeking help from a health facility in the area. 

She urged others with the same condition to seek medical attention to lead a normal life.

“I also encouraged parents with epileptic children to support them instead of hiding them from the public,” she said.

By Daisy Marcy and Sitna Omar

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