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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 186-189

Management of epilepsies at the community cottage hospital level in a developing environment

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, Shell Petroleum and Development Company, Rivers State, Nigeria
3 Department of Paediatrics, Obio Cottage Hospital, Obio/Akpor LGA, Rivers State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Emmanuel E Ekanem
Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_6_18

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Background: The epilepsy problem in much of Africa is characterized by stigmatization and neglect. This article describes the efforts at a cottage hospital level to ameliorate the epilepsy problem in a resource-limited environment. Methods: A seizure clinic was started in a cottage hospital after targeted health talks. The International League against Epilepsy (ILEA)/World Health Organization (WHO)/International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) manual was adopted for the training of staff and to guide management. Patients were followed up in the clinic and with the use of simple information communication technology. Results: Forty-five patients with ages ranging from 3 months to 42 years (who had lived with epilepsy for periods ranging from 3 weeks to 32 years) were registered over 12 months period. The most common seizure type was generalized tonic clonic (21 or 46.67%) followed by generalized clonic (8 or 17.78%). Ten (22.22%) had comorbidities mainly cerebral palsy (4 or 8.89%) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (3 or 6.67%). Most (98.15%) were placed on carbamazepine. Twenty-three (51.11%) had complete control of seizures, 21 (46.67%) had reduced frequencies of attacks, and all 8 children who had dropped out of school resumed schooling. Conclusion: The epilepsy challenge in the developing world can be demystified and effectively managed at the cottage hospital level. Targeted health education, affordable management regimes, and committed follow-up are keys. A training manual based on the ILEA/WHO/IBE document should be developed for Africa.

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