There are 14, 000 known cases of patients living with epilepsy in Kilifi County where some myths like witchcraft and curse have been surrounding the causes of the disease.
An Epileptologist, Eddie Maraga Chengo said epilepsy is brain associated and anyone could be prone to it especially when one is injured on the head adding that trauma, cerebral malaria and hypertension are some causes of epilepsy.
He said most of the 14, 000 patients of epilepsy in the County do not get the necessary care and treatment required and thereby reduce their lifespan.
“Research shows that epilepsy patients are six times more likely to die compared to the general public and thus it is important to speak about it and avoid stigmatization,” he said.
Maraga said if treated and put under proper medication, 80% of the patients can live a normal happy life while the remaining 20% of the patients are forced to use drugs for the rest of their lives.
He said epileptic patients are difficult to handle since one patient affects 5 people indirectly, as they always have to be in his care when he or she loses control of the body meaning that they should be supportive physically and emotionally.
He added that there are a few specialists in the section expressing disappointment that in Kilifi County there are only 2 epileptologists who have to handle medical services to the larger number of patients.
Maraga made the remarks during the world epilepsy day observation at the beginning of the week at Karisa Maitha stadium in Kilifi town where the county government department of health, National Council of Disability, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the public came together to create awareness of the disease.
By Harrison Yeri/Diana Athman