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Kenya: Less than 2 per cent of people with epilepsy receiving care

18 June, 2002

According to a report in The East Africa Standard, of the estimated 870,000 people with epilepsy in Kenya, only 8,000 of those are receiving medical care.

The head of the Medical Department of the Kenya Association for the Welfare of Epileptics, Dr Ceccilia Bartels, was speaking at the opening of an epilepsy clinic at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.

Dr Bartels explained that the vast majority of people with epilepsy in the country were given little attention or completely abandoned by relatives because some communities still considered people with epilepsy to be social outcasts.

She explained that epilepsy is a medical condition of the brain and has nothing to do with curses, witchcraft or sorcery as some communities believe, adding that epilepsy is treatable and all those with such patients should present them for medical care instead of hiding them in their homes.