By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: According to the study conducted by Makerere University’s School of Public Health on a Community Based Cross-sectional study of Epilepsy Prevalence and Barriers to Epilepsy Treatment in Uganda 2022/23, the national rate of epilepsy is at 1.69 per cent.
Speaking at the Epilepsy national Prevalence Study Dissemination and Dialogue meeting on Wednesday, Professor Fredrick Makumbi, the Principal Investigator from Makerere University School of Public Health said that the study showed that high prevalence was mostly high amongst the youths between the age of 18 to 35 years up to 2.37% and 2.33% for people between 36 to 60 years.He said that they are to conduct another study to examine the driving factors of the disease as the results of the study were so worrying.
“There is need to increase awareness on the disease and treatment amongst communities in order to bring the prevalence down”. Prof. Makumbi.
He also revealed that in communities where the study was conducted, people living epilepsy could not afford or access medication, this totaled to over 50 percent.
Professor Anthony Fuller, the USA Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neurology Principal Investigator said that regionally, Eastern emerged to have high prevalence of the disease standing at a rate of 2.16%.
Dr. Angelina Kakooza from Makerere University School of Medicine and the Co-Principal Investigator for Uganda mentioned that epilepsy prevalence was high in women than men which prompted them to think about conducting a special study to find out underlying factors on this statistic.
The study shows that the overall prevalence rate is 1.73% in female compared to 1.63% in male.
Addressing Journalists after the meeting, Director Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Daniel Kyabayinze called upon government to come up with measures to prevent the rising number of Epilepsy disease in the Country.
Dr Kyabayinze said it is Considerable for the ministry of health to know the number of people suffering with Epilepsy in the Country.
Kyabayinze noted that there’s need for Sensitization and awareness Campaigns in order to stop Stigma among people living with the Condition.
Meanwhile Mary Annet Nakato Buyende District Woman Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Health Committee member suggested that government should offer free drugs to people with epilepsy.
She was worried that most people in communities are doing self-medication and most of them don’t whether there is first, second- and third-line treatment.
“I have been at Health Committee but officials from Butabika have never advocated for availing more drugs rather they ask for money, yet advocacy would be at that”. Said Hon. Nakato.