The Month of January has a been a busy one for us here at KAWE. We started by launching the Komesha Kifafa School Awareness Programme, part two of last year’s Komesha Kifafa Caravan series.
With association and permissions from the County Health and the Teachers Service Commission, we have been able to visit the nine sub counties in Nairobi County. Through a non-biased selection, one primary school in each county was selected to participate in the research. We visited a mixture of both public and private schools.
The objective of the Komesha Kifafa School Programme is to create Epilepsy awareness among school going pupils and their teachers. Part of KAWE’S mandate is educating the public about Epilepsy, in our effort to reduce the stigma associated with the condition.
In each of the various sessions, we were able to get viewpoints from the pupils on what they know about epilepsy. We tried to get as many different opinions and answers as we could. The students selected ranged from five to 14 years old and across the divide it was quite clear that still much epilepsy awareness needs to be done.
However, when asked- where should Epilepsy be treated? It was a relief to hear the students respond with conviction that a person with Epilepsy should be treated by a doctor. When asked if they thought a person with epilepsy is bewitched, they were surprised that anyone would come up with such an idea.
“A person that has epilepsy, is just sick like anyone else, and they need to see a doctor to get medicine.”
We also interviewed teachers, and were quite impressed by their dedication not only to their teaching but also to the welfare of the children. They were happy to know that they would get trained on Epilepsy first aid as this would help them to get knowledge on how to deal with cases of epilepsy.
After the training, the teachers will go back to their schools and share the epilepsy information with the rest of the school. The pupils will participate in an epilepsy themed awareness competition. They are expected to create poems, dance and skits based on what they have learnt about epilepsy.
At Jehovah Jireh Primary School in Embakasi, the students decided to form an epilepsy club to create epilepsy awareness within their school and in the community. We though it was a brilliant idea initiated by the pupils. We hope this can be replicated in other schools as well.
All in all, the school edition of Komesha Kifafa looks like it will be quite an effective awareness channel.