Call for uninterrupted epilepsy supplies for Ukraine

Published: March 21 2022
Last updated: May 12 2023

Global epilepsy organisations, including the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) are calling for uninterrupted epilepsy aid for Ukraine.

Around 250,000 people in Ukraine have epilepsy, but epilepsy medicine supplies are running low, according to the ILAE. People with epilepsy also need regular contact with healthcare professionals for often related conditions, such as depression, anxiety and dementia.

Following the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the ILAE and IBE put out a statement last week urging for continued supplies and support for people living with epilepsy in Ukraine.

The statement said: “ILAE and IBE are concerned about the impact of the current situation in Ukraine on the availability of treatment and access to care for people with epilepsy in the region.

“We also know that an increase in seizures and epilepsy is likely as a result of conflict-related injuries, infectious disease outbreaks and a rise in premature and complex births.

“ILAE and IBE call on authorities and humanitarian responders to ensure uninterrupted supplies of critical and life-saving anti-seizure medicines.

“ILAE and IBE urge all to respect the neutrality and sanctity of medical personnel and health facilities during this conflict.”

The ILAE has set out seven key actions and is creating a task force to fulfil them. The actions include assessing medical and supply needs, working with pharmaceutical companies and organisations to help provide ongoing supplies, and developing prescription changes guidelines for affected countries. The organisation will also offer translations of key phrases, fundraise for communication systems like mobile phones, develop support and referral networks and advocate for free treatment with all governments.

The European Reference Networks is another group, made up of 24 organisations working to support people in Ukraine who need support for rare or very rare diseases. This includes EpiCARE, focusing on help for those with rare and complex epilepsies.

Epilepsy Action has written to the UK government to call for provision of urgent epilepsy supplies to Ukraine.

Anyone wishing to help can visit Project Hope, supporting healthcare workers in areas of crisis.