World Health Organization – Mozambique and Myanmar
Epilepsy is a major health problem with over 75% of persons in low- and middle-income countries without access to treatment. They are often stigmatized and denied their human rights.
Despite limited in-country specialized resources, great progress has been made to integrate epilepsy into the primary health care system under the leadership of the World Health Organization. During the past three years, a dedicated Mental Health team and a strong network of coordinators of 16 participating health districts were instrumental in building an epilepsy network of capable health staff, accelerating and securing long-term procurement of anti-epileptic drugs and creating public awareness through school programs, community health workers and leaders.
‘The strength of our initiative is a truly motivated team and a network of committed collaborators including the traditional healers. Together we can defeat epilepsy’.
Palmira, Ministry of Health (Mozambique)
The inspirational leadership, strong commitment, and insightful communication by the Minister of Health facilitated the outline of an integrated epilepsy blueprint, creating a strong health information system, and integrating epilepsy in the non-communicable disease health program.
In 2016, 2 192 epilepsy education awareness sessions were organized in the communities of the 16 health districts and over 136 000 people attended. In addition, the implementation team further strengthened the training of health care professionals and community health workers in order to conduct 22 651 consultations of persons living with epilepsy, a 57% increase over 2015.
World Health Organization – Myanmar
Treatment of epilepsy has long been neglected in public health programs, notwithstanding its high disease burden, the major impact on people it affects, and access to cost-effective treatment.
In Myanmar, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, different stakeholders were consulted. These included: the Ministry of Health, the neurology and mental health staff in academia and leading hospitals, the medical directors of the townships, and the villagers.
To date, a total of 1 772 health care providers and 44 train-the-trainers participated in different training courses in ten townships. In addition, 103 962 villagers attended 6 369 epilepsy education sessions.
As a result of the broad acceptance of the Epilepsy Initiative, the reduction of treatment access gap in the townships was reduced by 43.8% on average for the 10 townships, varying from 23.7% in the Lewe township to 78.8% for the Hlegu township, depending on the timing of the initiation of the epilepsy program.