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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Singaporean employers "ignorant and prejudiced" about epilepsy

15 January, 2004

According to a Singapore
Epilepsy Foundation
(SEF) survey, 36 per cent of people with epilepsy
in Singapore are unemployed and almost 50 per cent earn less than $500
a month.

There are more than
20,000 people with epilepsy in Singapore, according to SEF, who conducted
their study between 2001 and 2003.

Dr Lim Shih Hui,
a senior consultant neurologist at the National
Neuroscience Institute
,
said:

"Epileptic patients
have comparable educational levels with the Singapore population, but
they have a higher rate of unemployment or under-employment compared
to the general populace. This is probably due to job discrimination,
with Singaporean employers unwilling to employ them because of their
condition."

An SEF survey amongst
the population of Singapore in 1999 showed that prejudice against people
with epilepsy is widespread - about 20 per cent of Singaporeans believe
that epilepsy is a mental illness, insanity or possession by an evil
spirit and only 38 per cent of the employers surveyed were willing
to hire a person with epilepsy.

Dr Lim added that
it was important to people to know that epilepsy is a neurological
disorder, not a mental illness.