Global Campaign Against Epilepsy

The Global Campaign Against Epilepsy (GCAE) was formed in 1997 as a joint initiative between the  ILAE/IBE and WHO. The campaign – ‘Out of the Shadows’– initiated with a primary aim of improving acceptability, treatment, services and prevention of epilepsy around the world, in particular of reducing the treatment gap. A significant achievement of the Campaign has been the demonstration projects, developing sustainable models of care in ‘at need’ countries around the world.

More recently, regional reports have highlighted similarity of problems in access and management regardless of the region or country. What has become clear however is that despite achievements there is a general invisibility of activity. More specifically there are also many ongoing activities around the world, both in service development and education from which many other areas may learn or gain benefit.

The mission of ILAE/IBE/WHO Global Campaign Against Epilepsy is: To improve the acceptability, treatment, services and prevention of epilepsy worldwide. The ultimate goal of the Campaign is to close the treatment gap in epilepsy. To date over 100 countries have developed activities under the Campaign.  However, it was recognised that awareness of activity was not high. In 2009, the Task Force was established with an aim of establishing a strategic plan with action points to forward wider development of activities within the GCAE, and raise awareness of achievements. A strategic plan was finalised, with four main goals:

  1. To improve the visibility of epilepsy and the activities of the Global Campaign in all countries
  2. To promote activities of all epilepsy projects on a country and regional level
  3. To assess and strengthen health care systems for epilepsy
  4. To increase partnerships and collaboration with other organisations

It has become clear however that throughout the world there are many initiatives that could be interpreted as Global Outreach, for which there needs to be a raised awareness, but such activities are not necessarily directed through the collaborative efforts of the GCAE. The Task Force was therefore renamed ‘Global Outreach’ with a primary aim of raising awareness of global educational and service initiatives in epilepsy throughout the world.