Draft Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (IGAP)
In November 2020, the Seventy-third World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted resolution WHA 73.10 on Global actions on epilepsy and other neurological disorders to develop an Intersectoral global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders (IGAP) in consultation with Member States. The action plan will address the challenges and gaps in providing care and services for people with epilepsy and other neurological disorders that exist worldwide and ensure a comprehensive, coordinated response across sectors.
ILAE and IBE jointly advocated for a 90-80-70 cascade target for epilepsy to be included in the IGAP to inspire a decade of action and achieve meaningful improvements in care and treatment for all of the 50 million plus people who live with epilepsy globally.
The WHO Secretariat prepared a revised draft of the Intersectoral global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders (EB150/7 Annex 7) that was submitted for review at the 150th session of the Executive Board in January 2022. The ILAE position statement given at the session commended the inclusion of Target 5.1 addressing epilepsy services and Target 5.2 tackling discrimination, remarking that epilepsy is highly treatable – and both stigma and exclusion are preventable. ILAE noted that all ten target areas in the draft IGAP are relevant to epilepsy and recommended that all use the phrase ‘epilepsy and other neurological disorders’ to align with Resolution WHA 73.10.
On 27 January 2022, the draft IGAP was approved at the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board. ILAE was grateful for the attention to the needs of people with epilepsy on part of the WHO, as well as to all Executive Board members who spoke in favour of the draft IGAP.
In May 2022, during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, four international organizations and 116 Member States spoke in support of the IGAP. On 27 May 2022, WHO Member States unanimously approved the plan.
To meet the global targets, IGAP includes proposed actions for WHO Member States, the WHO Secretariat, and national and international partners in several areas:
Access to services for epilepsy – Approximately 70% of people with epilepsy can be seizure free with treatment. However, treatment gaps exist in every country in the world. The current treatment gap estimate is 75% in lower-income countries and is substantially higher in rural areas.
Engagement and support for people with epilepsy – People with epilepsy and their families are stigmatized and discriminated against as a result of the misconceptions and negative attitudes that surround epilepsy. This leads to human rights violations and social exclusion. In some settings, children with epilepsy may not be allowed to attend school; adults may not be able to find suitable employment or to marry.
Epilepsy as an entry point for other neurological disorders – Epilepsy can be secondary to other neurological conditions, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury. It also can occur along with other conditions; for example, 19% of people with epilepsy also have migraine, and about 26% of adults with epilepsy also have intellectual disability.
With support, the IGAP will help to strengthen the prevention, detection, care, treatment, and equal opportunities for people with epilepsy and other neurological disorders worldwide.
A History of Initiatives to Reduce the Global Burden of Epilepsy
Click the image below to view the full-size infographic with interactive links.
First draft of the IGAP
Click the image below to read the draft Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders, June 2021.
ILAE/IBE Virtual Roundtable
Click the image below to read the report on the virtual roundtable held by ILAE and IBE, 16 July 2021.
Epilepsy 90-80-70: A SMART Target
Click the image below to read how the proposed cascade target is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
Joint ILAE/IBE IGAP recommendations
Click the image below to read the ILAE and IBE letter to WHO, 28 July 2021.
ILAE, ICNA & WFN IGAP recommendations
Click the image below to read the letter to the WHO from ILAE, the International Child Neurology Association and the World Federation of Neurology, 12 August 2021.
ILAE review of IGAP comments
Click the image below to read the letter written by J Helen Cross on behalf of ILAE to the WHO, 13 October 2021.
Revised draft of the IGAP
Click the image below to read the revised draft Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (EB150/7 Annex 7), 11 January 2022.
ILAE position statement on revised draft IGAP
Click the image below to read the position statement given by J Helen Cross on behalf of ILAE at the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board, 27 January 2022.
For more information on IGAP, visit the WHO website.
90% of all people with epilepsy aware of their diagnosis as a treatable brain disorder
- Increased public and professional awareness about epilepsy
- Improved diagnosis through training and enhanced specialist networks
- Harmful myths replaced with an understanding that epilepsy is a treatable brain disorder
80% of people diagnosed with epilepsy with access to appropriate, affordable, safe antiseizure medicines
- Strengthened, sustainable essential medicine supply chains
- Proper financing and pricing to ensure that anti-seizure medicines are affordable
- Reclassification of certain anti-seizure medicines to allow production and importation
70% of people with epilepsy on treatment achieve adequate seizure control
- Investment in primary and community care and support
- People with epilepsy informed, engaged and empowered
- Continued research to improve treatment options
Is it feasible? Could we achieve these targets?
Yes, it is feasible. There is a strong evidence base to support all of the areas listed above. It is possible to detect, diagnose and treat epilepsy through a primary health care approach.
Yes, we could achieve these targets by 2031. With strong government commitment, investment, greater inclusion and understanding, all three targets could be achieved within a decade.
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