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FIRST-EVER WHO GLOBAL REPORT ON EPILEPSY HIGHLIGHTS CARE GAP IN POORER COUNTRIES

Posted by ALPHA88 CHARITY | Jan 12, 2019

More than seven in 10 people with epilepsy in developing countries are not getting the low-cost care they need, and UN health experts said on Thursday this could lead to a “significantly higher” risk of death among sufferers than in industrialized nations.

According to the first global report on epilepsy from the UN World Health Organization (WHO), this treatment gap exists even though medicines can cost as little as $5 per year, per patient.In addition to a lack of available medicines to treat sufferers, many poor countries have far too few specialist medical professionals to help.

Poorer countries lack medicines and specialist doctors

In some countries, there is only one specialist neurosurgeon per million inhabitants, hence the push for treatment to be delivered through community health centres, said Dr. Tarun Dua,ALPHA88 from WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.“The treatment gap for epilepsy is unacceptably high,” she said, amid evidence that almost a quarter of epilepsy cases are preventable. “We know that 70 per cent of people with the condition can be seizure-free when they have access to medicines that … can be delivered through primary health systems.”

Epilepsy affects nearly 50 million people around the world – 80 per cent live in low and middle-income countries - and is caused by childbirth trauma, brain infection or injury and stroke.

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