Ahead of the 2012 national epilepsy day commemoration, the ministry of health in Malawi has condemned any form of discrimination to those suffering from epilepsy, saying excluding epileptic people from the society has a negative impact to not only the individuals and their families, but also the country as a whole, hence the need to stop such an act. Condemning the act, principal secretary in the ministry of health, Dr. Charles Mwamsambo says epilepsy is no laughing matter as it affects people of all levels of intelligence and social backgrounds, and has since called on every citizen to see to it that epileptic patients are given the necessary support and attention.
“The stigma attached to epilepsy affects the person, his or her family physically, socially and economically, which in turn affects the nation too. “This is a sad development and it should not be entertained, after all epilepsy can affect anyone, be it rich or poor, young or old, black or white, from the urban or rural areas,” observed the principal secretary.
He added: “The general public should know that epilepsy is neither contagious nor infectious. Therefore people with epilepsy should be cared for when seizing should be rushed to health facilities immediately to save their lives.
“In addition, people with epilepsy should be treated in every manner be employment or education.” Under the theme “taking epilepsy out of the shadows: removing stigma and discrimination” this year’s event will be commemorated Saturday august 25 in Lilongwe, at Mpingu community ground in the traditional authority of Malili, and the deputy minister of health, Halima Daudi is expected to grace the occasion.
According to the ministry of health, epilepsy and repeated seizures is the most common neurological (brain) disorder although it is one of the most neglected diseases in the whole world yet it affects over 50 million people worldwide.
The ministry has disclosed that about 80 percent of such cases are from the developing countries, under which Malawi falls, and that about 3 in every 100 people (3 percent) have epilepsy while many of them remain un reported and not on treatment