3rd African Epilepsy Congress

Dakar, Senegal

5 - 7 May 2017

The 3rd African Epilepsy Congress was held from 05 to 07 May 2017 at Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, in Senegal, after Nairobi and Cape Town.

This year's theme was "Child and Adolescent’s Epilepsy." This topical issue has generated many fruitful exchanges between experts and learners from all over the world. For two and a half days, Dakar was the meeting place for 281 participants from 48 different countries, among them 113 from Senegal. Locally, we noted a significant involvement of pediatricians, neurosurgeons and psychiatrists who play an important role in the epilepsy management. A total of 25 scholarships were granted and 76 posted communications were accepted.

The special innovations brought to this 3rd congress were the morning sessions of interactive videos and the one bringing together local traditional healers, patients and experts. The program developed was rich and diversified, dealing with all aspects of epilepsy, from pathophysiology to treatment, with an emphasis on comorbidities as well as its socio-cultural and economic impact.

The first day program began with a morning teaching session, co-organized by the National Center for Epilepsy and Oslo and Akershus University College, on the pharmacology of anti-epileptic drugs. The first day also provided an opportunity to take stock of aspects such as risk factors, practical aspects of diagnosis and learning disabilities of children suffering from epilepsy. Concerning the etiological aspect, four papers highlighted the importance of peri-natal factors and infections in the genesis of epilepsy in Africa, without ignoring the metabolic and genetic causes. The opening ceremony was held around 7 pm at the large amphitheater of Cheikh Anta Diop University “UCAD 2”. The opening speech was delivered by Professor Amadou Gallo Diop, chairman of CAA and of the Senegalese League against epilepsy. After words of thanks, he laid an emphasis on the necessity for collaboration between the different actors (teachers, traditional healers, state authorities …) to improve the quality of life of patients with epilepsy. The ceremony was co-chaired by Prof. Ibrahima Thioub (Rector of UCAD), Dr Diack (General Director of Health), Athanasios Covanis (IBE President) and Prof. Emilio Perucca (President of ILAE). The ceremony ended with a dinner cocktail which took place at the palm plantation of the Faculty of Medicine.

The second day’s congress began at 7:30 am with a video session of epileptic seizures, especially for child and infant. The crucial contribution of mobile phones in the recognition and diagnosis of epilepsies was focused. The following sessions were a reminder of the pathophysiology of epilepsy, the concept of encephalopathies and reflex epilepsies. The Sanofi symposium, moderated by Profs. Amadou Gallo Diop and Michel Dumas, highlighted African realities in the epilepsy management. In the afternoon, Angelica Kakooza (Uganda) talked about the epidemiological and clinical aspects of the Nodding Syndrome. The role of caravans in raising awareness, training, screening, combating stigma and excluding epileptic patients was highlighted. The International Epilepsy Bureau round table was rich in exchanges and brought together experts, families, patients and traditional healers who understood and stated that they are the first line of contact of the patients because being more accessible. Thus, they advocate future collaboration for early and optimal epilepsy management.

The 3rd day activities started at 7:45 am with the presentation by Prof. R. Gouider of cases of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and progressive myoclonic epilepsy. Then, Professor Helen Cross made a detailed comment on the ILAE classification in 2017 and she presented video cases of spasms and frontal focal seizures. The conferences began at 9:00 am and addressed the practical aspects and feasibility of the epilepsy surgery in Africa. This 3rd day ended around 14 hours after the parallel sessions on non-epileptic psychogenic seizures and comorbidities of children epilepsy.

The Closing Ceremony was moderated by Emilio Perucca (Italy), Athanasios Covanis (Greece) and Moustapha Ndiaye (Senegal).

This 3rd African epilepsy congress was an opportunity to gather all the former students of the Dakar neurology school and helped to create an international exchange network. Positive appraisals make us believe that this scientific meeting was greatly successful and beneficial for the experts, learners, patients, traditional doctors and for the Senegalese universities authorities as well.

Dr Ndiaga Matar Gaye