Kenya celebrates International Epipelsy Day and 5 years of impact through the Angaza Kifafa Campaign
By Our Reporter
Kenyans will join the world to celebrate World Epilepsy Day on Monday, 11th February 2019. Through the nationwide Epilepsy campaign dubbed “Angaza Kifafa”, that is coordinated by National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC), over five (5) millions Kenyans have been reached in the past five (5) years, increasing uptake of patients and contributing to demystifying the myths surrounding the condition.
This year, the campaign is being flagged off in Embu County on the aforementioned date by the Governor, Martin Nyaga Wambora at the County District hospital. The campaign seeks to address the Epilepsy challenges – Accessible, Available, Affordable and Awareness through training seminars for health practitioners and community health volunteers (CHV’s) at county level, a roadshow and open day. This is achieved through county partnerships and so far, Nairobi, Taita Taveta, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Machakos, Uasin Gishu, Meru, Kwale, Mombasa, Kericho and Kajiado North counties have been a beneficiary of this partnership. With support from title sponsor Bank of Africa and other sponsors like Sanofi, Glaxosmithkline (GSK), Redcross, Youth on the Move (YOTM), Bamburi, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Sunpharma among others, more than 200 people have received medical assistance courtesy of the campaign, over 100 schools sensitized and over 500 health professionals equipped with the right diagnosis and treatment procedures of Epilepsy.
Globally, one in every 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime and people with certain conditions may be at greater risk than others. Having said that, the cause of approximately 50% of epilepsy cases is not known. In many of the developing countries, due to socio-economic factors, lack of awareness and great attachment of stigma to Epilepsy as a condition the treatment gap is much wider (80%) as opposed to developed countries. In Kenya for example, there are an estimated one (1) Million people living with Epilepsy. Statistics on those who suffer from the condition indirectly reaches epidemic proportions.
In 2010, National Epilepsy Coordination Committee was formed to tap the expertise, improve interaction, coordinate activities and diminish artificial competition which retards common good in epilepsy work. The members of NECC represent all stakeholders in epilepsy care i.e. Ministry of Health, international policy makers, pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals , professional societies, NGOs, CBOs, research institutions, academic institutions and persons living with epilepsy.