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Makueni Aims To Reach Out To People With Epilepsy

Makueni County, in collaboration with the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC), has stepped up its efforts to treat and control epilepsy among affected persons in the county.

Health Services Chief Officer Dr. Stephen Ndolo said the Community Health Promoters (CHP) are able to screen patients and direct them to health facilities where they are referred for specialised management at Makindu, Makueni, and Mbooni sub-county hospitals.

Dr. Ndolo spoke on Thursday during the flagging off of the Angaza Kifafa National Epilepsy Awareness Campaign at Makueni County Referral Hospital, Wote.

He said the county is committed to working together with partners and residents to ensure that Makueni achieves the highest attainable healthcare.

‘We will partner together with NECC and Bank of Africa in creating awareness, reaching out to them in the community, and also referring to our hospitals for medical attention and treatment,’ said Ndolo.

The county has a total of 3,625 CHP across the county, and 50 of them
have been trained. Each of the six subcounties will have eight CHP who are able to screen and direct them to health facilities for diagnosis and management.

‘People can get epilepsy from a brain injury, cancer of the brain, when a baby is born, and there are complications that can have effects on the brain and others that are established causes, but with treatment, the disorder can be controlled,’ added Ndolo.

Epillose Musimbi from NECC said lack of awareness makes epilepsy a highly stigmatised brain disorder where most of the people affected are isolated, yet the condition can be treated and controlled.

Musimbi said the awareness campaign seeks to inform the public that epilepsy is a brain disorder, that it is not a curse, ignorance, witchcraft, or demon possession, and that the disorder can be treated and controlled.

‘In Kenya, available data show that 2 out of every 100 people live with epilepsy, of which approximately 1.5 million Kenyans are affected. Only 30% seek treatment, and therefore there is a
big gap of 70% with epilepsy not knowing where to seek medication,’ noted Musimbi.

‘Out of the 30% who seek treatment, around 15% make it regularly to the doctors for treatment, while others discontinue along the way due to accessibility, availability, affordability of the medical drugs, or misinformation whereby they combine medical help with alternative treatment,’ she added.

The Vice Secretary of NECC, Fred Kiserem, said people living with epilepsy are prone to being fired or losing jobs due to discrimination by family members, friends, and the community.

‘My girlfriend dumped me immediately when I told her I have epilepsy because she taught that I may pass the genes to the baby, and I thank my mother for taking care of me until I got married and we are living an active life,’ said Kiserem.

He urged the members of the family, friends, and community to be close to people with epilepsy, saying the disorder is treatable and they can live an active life.

Currently, the Angaza Kifafa awareness campaign has
covered 19 counties, including Makueni, and seeks to reach out to all 47 counties.

Source: Kenya News Agency