World Health Organization – Mozambique and Myanmar
World Health Organization – Mozambique
Epilepsy is a major health problem with over 80% of people in low- and middle-income countries without access to quality diagnosis and treatment. People are often stigmatized, excluded from their communities or schools and hence, they are denied basic human rights.
Despite limited in-country specialized resources, an unusual progress has been made to integrate epilepsy into the primary health care system under the strong leadership of the team of the Department of Mental Health of the Ministry of Health. During the past four years, the team fostered and built trust with the administrative authorities and health care workers of various communities. It resulted in a unique and strong network of dedicated coordinators of 16 participating health districts, instrumental in building an epilepsy network of trained health staff.
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. A school program endorsed by the Minister of Health was designed to create epilepsy awareness and epilepsy engagement with children through a drawing competition.
In 2017, 823 epilepsy education awareness sessions were organized in the communities of the 16 health districts, and over 246 000 people attended. In addition, the implementation team further strengthened the training of health care professionals and community health workers in order to conduct 32 130 consultations of people living with epilepsy, more than double of consultations conducted in 2015.
The key to success is building engaged communities, eager to make a difference for people living with epilepsy.
World Health Organization – Myanmar
Treatment of epilepsy has long been neglected in public health programs, notwithstanding its high disease burden, the major impact on the people it affects, and access to cost-effective treatment.
The team of Hope for Epilepsy initiative in Myanmar continued building on the extensive experience of the Myanmar National Epilepsy Coordinating Committee (NECC).
To date, health center staff of a total of 2 139 health centers received either new or refresher epilepsy training. The NECC conducts quarterly supervision of the 10 project townships. Thereafter, the trained township level health personnel provides supervision to the rural health facilities. To date, 7 965 health education sessions brought together 131 751 people.
There was an 88% increase in number of initial and follow-up consultations, with 444 people newly diagnosed as living with epilepsy. Following the initiation of the treatment, seizures improved on average by 50% and the quality of life improved by 78%.
As a result of the broad acceptance of the Hope for Epilepsy initiative, the reduction of treatment access gap in the townships further progressed positively.