Epilepsy is present in every society around the world; yet, it still is one of the most stigmatized non-communicable disease.

KAWE, in association with Lotto foundation and with the backing of Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi County Governments carried out informal research in the Coast Region.

We started by visiting the three regions and talking to persons in authority to obtain permissions to interview members of the public.

Later on, with the guidance of Local Administration, we were able to find a cross section of respondents. Among those interviewed were those that are in direct contact with the community such as teachers and village elders. We also talked to workers at health facilities, shopkeepers, tradesmen, housewives and college students. The age group was approximately 23-80 years.

We had started by visiting the three regions and talking to persons in authority to obtain permissions to interview members of the public.

Later on, with the guidance of Local Administration, we were able to find a cross section of respondents. Among those interviewed were those that are in direct contact with the community such as teachers and village elders. We also talked to workers at health facilities, shopkeepers, tradesmen, housewives and college students. The age group was approximately 23-80 years.

Some of the questions asked included

  • Do you know what is Epilepsy
  • Is it treatable
  • What first aid should you give to someone with Epilepsy?

Even though most have come across someone that has epilepsy, there is still a lot of confusion about what causes the sickness. A greater percentage attributes it to witchcraft, thus believing that such a person needs to go to a medicine man to be cured. Others interviewed believe it has to do with family misunderstanding.

When asked if such a person can be cured, several people said they didn’t think there was any medicine for Epilepsy.

It is clear that a lot of awareness needs to be done, not only at the coast but also in other regions in the country. Among other activities was the launch of the Epilepsy Clinic at Mvita Health Centre.

KAWE is up for the task. The first session of three days KOMESHA Kifafa Caravan was a great success and a forerunner of things to come. A public caravan is a great way of addressing sensitive issues without putting anyone on the spot. As we continue with the public education, we shall also go back and find out how much they learnt out of the awareness.