India is home to 18 Percentage of Epilepsy victims in the World
Three quarters of epilepsy victims in India do not receive any medical care
Participants at IANCON 2019 highlightedthe need for early detection and enhanced awareness on available remedies
Hyderabad, October 5th, 2019: India is now home to 18% of Epilepsy victims in the World; and at least three quarters among them do not receive any form of medical care! This prevailing state of affairs call for an introspection about the alarming situation on an urgent basis and look for available remedies. On the penultimate day of the 27th Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Neurology _ IANCON 2019 _ the participants called for enhanced awareness among the people on epilepsy and possible cure.
Speaking at the Convention, renowned Neurologist and Organizing Secretary of IANCON 2019, Dr. Sita Jayalakshmi said – in India, over the past two decades, management of epilepsy in India has moved significantly from only controlling seizures through medicines to early identification of lesions in brain causing epilepsy using advanced MRI machines and offering surgery for few patients where optimal medications are not effective in seizure control.
Dr. Jayalakshmi further added that while science has advanced to cure epilepsy, its awareness among people in the developing and under-developed regions of the World is still very low. She said. “Current management of epilepsy not only concentrates on seizure control but also tries to ensure an optimal Quality of Life to people with epilepsy. According to World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally! Nearly 80% of people with epilepsy live in low or middle-income countries. It is estimated that up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could live a seizure-free life, if properly diagnosed and treated. More importantly, the risk of premature death in people with epilepsy is up to three times higher than for the general population. Hence the urgency to educate people in India and across the World.”
Key aspects of epilepsy cure:
Low-cost treatment is available with daily medication that costs as little as US$ 5 per year
Discontinuing anti-seizure medicines can be considered after 2 years without seizures and should take into account relevant clinical, social and personal factors
In India, about three quarters of people with epilepsy not receiving the treatment they need
It is possible to diagnose and treat most people with epilepsy at the primary health-care level without the use of sophisticated equipment
Surgery might be beneficial to patients who respond poorly to drug treatments
The economic impact of epilepsy varies significantly depending on the duration and severity of the condition, response to treatment, and the health-care setting. Out-of-pocket costs and productivity losses create substantial burdens on households. Deliberating on the situation in India, participants at IANCON 2019 opined that public financing for both firstand second-line therapy and other medical costs alleviates the financial burden from epilepsy and is cost-effective.
Additionally, the Doctors attending the conference said that the stigma and discrimination that surround epilepsy worldwide are often more difficult to overcome than the seizures themselves. People living with epilepsy can be targets of prejudice. The stigma of the disease can discourage people from seeking treatment for symptomsto avoid becoming identified with the disease. It was of common opinion that social awareness especially through media can be of great help in this regard.