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Epilepsy care in Indonesia highlighted

30 May, 2001

The head of a major Indonesian neurology department has commented this week on local care for people with epilepsy.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populated country with over 220 million inhabitants, is home to an estimated 2 million people with epilepsy.

Dede Gunawan, from the neurology department of the Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung was quoted by the Indonesian news agency Antara as saying that the situation had been made worse by fact that out of 400 neurologists in Indonesia, only around 10 specialise in epilepsy.

"But this has also become a problem as most of the doctors are concentrated in big cities," Dede was quoted as saying.

Dede also said that most patients could not afford to have proper treatment as medication for the disease was still too expensive.

"Patients can't have routine treatment because they can't afford it," Dede said, adding that most patients did not have medical insurance.

He added that standard treatment for epilepsy was also not easily available in most cities in the country.