Youth lead in contracting epilepsy due to accidents

DAR ES SALAAM: As the world commemorates International Epilepsy Day today, the Tanzania Epilepsy Association (TEA) has said that youth at the average age of 15 and above are leading in encountering epilepsy due to various reasons including accidents.

This was revealed by a Neurologist at P-Consultant Medical Clinic, Doctor Patience Njenje saying that most of the accidents leading to epilepsy are motorcycle accidents (bodaboda) after being injured, leaving a scar which later on causes defect to the brain.

Dr Njenje further said that more than 60 million people in the world live with epilepsy and in every 200000 people; at least 34 to 75 people have epilepsy.

Additionally, he said that Africa has a high percentage of people living with epilepsy where there are 20 to 58 people per 1000 population.

“Tanzania is one of the countries with the most patients in Africa, for instance the Mahenge district villages have a large number of 37 out of 1000,” he added.

He further elaborated that; Epilepsy patients are six times more at risk of death where more than 60 per cent of deaths are caused by the effects of the disease directly and that more than 25 per cent of epilepsy patients have disabilities caused by falling once the patient has convulsions.

Likewise, he stressed the need for educative the society on the causes and effects of the disease noting that more than 36 per cent of the community relate the disease with superstition beliefs, 50 per cent believe that it is infectious diseases, noting that 45 per cent of school-age children are not sent to school due to the disease and 68 per cent their attendance is not satisfactory.

“These children with epilepsy are discriminated against, they are not allowed to play and others are hidden from society and 75 percent go to see traditional healers and maybe go to religious leaders.

In a related development, the medic urged the community to stop stigmatizing people with epilepsy because everyone is a potential patient and anyone can get the disease.

“Is good to treat them well and stop stigmatizing them. The truth is that from five to 10 per cent of patients affected by this disease can be treated but most of them delay and arrive at the hospital when it is already a chronic problem,”

He added; “Also, an epilepsy patients should be held when shaking and nothing should be put in his mouth instead, he should be laid down on his left side arm after shaking and placed on a safe place and the most important thing is that, he shouldn’t be climbing trees, he shouldn’t swim nor even drive a car.”

Meanwhile, he mentioned other causes of epilepsy such as severe fever during childhood, pork worms especially for those who eat their meat when it is not properly cooked, worms from sharks, tumors in the brain and immune deficiency.

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