NGO steps up Epilepsy awareness campaign

By Ambrose Gahene
Epilepsy Support Association Uganda {ESAU}, a local Non Governmental Organization has called upon Government and stakeholders to step up awareness campaign to eradicate Epilepsy cases in Uganda. The call was made by ESAU Director Augustine Mugarura, during a stakeholder’s dialogue at Hotel Africana last Friday.
Mugarura said Epilepsy has been treated as an abomination by many communities in Uganda and the world at large, yet it’s a brain damage and curable disease. He said the disease could have been eradicated long time ago in Uganda, had stakeholders taken the initiative of increasing availability of drugs and testing children in their infant stages. “Epilepsy is documented in the Bible as an ancient disease, yet communities in Uganda and elsewhere don’t seem to take it seriously. Many Epilepsy patients are left on their own and little is done to take them for treatment, because families take it as a mysterious disease”, he said.
He added that; there is need to increase the number of Epilepsy drugs and train neurosurgeons to curb the scourge, because people with Epilepsy suffer physical injury, when attacked by the condition. He said in Uganda; Epilepsy patients stand between 1 million and 1.5 million. “It’s a chronic condition which requires medication. As an NGO, we are doing awareness campaign in 42 districts countrywide”, he added.
Dr Ramadhan Hizaamu adressing media at Hotel Africana last week

Dr. Ramadhan Hizaamu, a consultant who made a survey on Epilepsy prevalence in Uganda; said Epilepsy is characterized by structural abnormalities. “A number of Epilepsy patients do not access healthcare because they are hidden from society”, he said.  He also hailed the work of ESAU, for putting Epilepsy patients in Associations to get collective medication, citing Luweero district Health Centre 1V, with 60 patients and Masaka Regional Hospital, which has 300 patients. He proposed for epilepsy outreaches, for patients who don’t access health facilities and continued sensitization that; the disease is curable.

The dialogue brought together Epilepsy patients drawn from districts of Jinja, Luweero, Gomba and Masaka.
About ESAU
Epilepsy Support Association Uganda is an indigenous NGO that brings together people with epilepsy, their families and other people to work towards eliminating the social stigma attached to epilepsy and create an environment in which epilepsy is better understood so that those who live with it can exercise their full potential and enjoy equal rights. Established in 1997, the Association has been involved in advocacy and capacity building of the people with disabilities with emphasis on People with Epilepsy (PWE). The Association mobilizes PWE to form support groups through which they can meet to share experiences, offer each other mutual support and lobby for better services at both sub county and district levels.
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