World Epilepsy Day: No neurologist available at dist hospitalsMarch 24, 2015
KARACHI: Renowned Epileptologist Dr Fowzia Siddiqui on Wednesday said over two million people are suffering from epilepsy in Pakistan.
She shared this information while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club, held to mark the World (Epilepsy) Purple Day being on 26 March.
She said the day is celebrated throughout the world to show support and solidarity with patients hit by epilepsy. She informed that 50 million people are suffering from epilepsy worldwide. “Overall prevalence of epilepsy is estimated at one percent in the world population and two percent in Pakistan.”
Dr Fowzia revealed that children suffering from Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) are only around 2.5 percent of total patients in the world, but in Pakistan, this number ratio is seven percent, which is higher.
Dr Fowzia, who is also Ambassador of Purple Day in Pakistan, said unfortunately, epilepsy incidence is higher in Pakistan due to poor awareness and increase in infectious diseases. She lamented that there is common perception in the society that epilepsy is not disease rather a supernatural thing due to ghosts. Such thinking affects disease management, she noted.
The epileptologist said highest prevalence of disease was seen in people with less than 30 years of age and the ratio of disease is high in rural areas.
Prof Arif Herekar said that people need to know that epilepsy is a disease and consult with at least doctor. He suggested that epilepsy patients should carry an information card in case they have a seizure in public.
Dr Naila Shahbaz emphasised that women with epilepsy should not be singled out or considered out cast.
General Secretary Neurology Awareness & Research Foundation (NARF) Dr Abdul Malik said only 25 percent of epileptic patients in Pakistan had access to health facilities and quality medicine for the treatment of epilepsy while 45 patients had no access.
He said there is acute shortage of neurologists in the country as only 175 neurologists are available for 180 million population. He said there no neurologist is available at district level hospitals.
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