Epilepsy in Guatemala
During their recent visit to Guatemala, Samuel Wiebe, president of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), Mario Alonso-Vanegas, member of the commission for surgical therapies, and Lilia Nuñez vice-president for Latin America of the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) participated in several events aimed at increasing the visibility of epilepsy as a global health issue.
Especially noteworthy among these events was a meeting at the Republic of Guatemala Congress with the Health and Social Assistance Commission presided by Congresswoman Karla Martínez and the second legislative vice-president, representative Eduardo Ramiro de Matta. During this meeting Samuel Wiebe stressed that there are 60 million people worldwide, including children, youths and adults who have epilepsy and it is imperative to join efforts to address this growing problem. Alonso-Vanegas highlighted the need of a national reference center to treat the most devastating types of epilepsy or refractory epilepsy and congratulated Congress on the support it has shown the existing Humana Epilepsy Center. Congressman De Matta gave his assurance that he will coordinate actions with the Health Ministry and Finance Commission to analyze possibilities to increase specific support to the approximately 300,000 people with epilepsy in Guatemala.
Doctors Wiebe, Alonso-Vanegas and Nuñez visited the Humana Epilepsy Center, a non-profit organization that has been exclusively dedicated to the care of patients with refractory or difficult to treat epilepsy. This institution currently works under an agreement with the Health Ministry as a national epilepsy reference center and has the only institutionalized surgical program. The program has over 100 surgical cases so far and over 5,500 consultations per year.
Furthermore, the attending personalities participated as lecturers during the Symposium of Epilepsies 2017, organized by Humana Epilepsy Center and endorsed by the Latin American Academy of Epilepsy (ALADE). During this two-day course the most salient topics in the study of epilepsy were presented to physicians of different specialties.
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