Epigraph Vol. 21 Issue 3, Summer 2019

Latin American Epilepsy Week - Paraguay

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Despite advances in the understanding and treatment of epilepsy, a significant treatment gap remains. The gap stems from multiple factors, many of which can be traced to deficiencies in education and awareness among physicians, the public and policymakers about epilepsy and its treatment. In regions that depend upon primary care systems to deliver health care, the gap can have a dramatic impact on diagnosis and management, as well as quality of life and mortality.

Semana de la epilepsia - Paraguay 2019

In April, Paraguay held its first Epilepsy Week. The concept of an epilepsy week, piloted in Bolivia in 2015, includes scientific, social and cultural activities to raise awareness of epilepsy and its importance as a focus of public health. The week offers a range of courses and activities about epilepsy, myths, management and stigma. They are tailored for neurologists, primary care physicians, medical students, people with epilepsy and their families, policymakers and the general population.

Paraguay Epilepsy Week was organized and administered by ILAE-Latin America. Speakers noted the importance of epilepsy as a topic on the health agenda, both at the institutional level and at the level of the general public. They discussed the stigma that leads to ignorance of this disorder that can affect family life, as well as life at school and work. Such stigma can lead to employment loss and social exclusion.

Scientific sessions

Epilepsy Week included three courses given simultaneously April 11-13. These meetings included presentations by experts across Latin America on the most innovative aspects of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.

The courses were aimed at EEG technicians, general practitioners and specialists in the neurosciences. More than 200 attendees—including neurologists, neurosurgeons, pediatric neurologists, clinicians, pediatricians, primary care physicians, medical students, nurses and other allied health staff—were welcomed, participating in an exchange of knowledge on the most current issues in epilepsy.

Social and cultural activities

To provide appropriate information about epilepsy, epilepsy training talks were held April 8-10 for people with epilepsy, their relatives and the general public in hospitals throughout Paraguay. April 13 featured an all-day session, hosted by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE), for people with epilepsy and their families.

Media coverage was facilitated through an agency and included publicity on television, radio, print media and social media.

Thanks and support

Thanks went to Roberto Caraballo and his collaborators at ILAE-Latin America, who provided the Paraguay chapter with the opportunity to host Epilepsy Week. “Our commitment remains firm, and after this event it has been renewed and strengthened,” said Mario Camargo, secretary of ILAE-Latin America.

Other supporters included pharmaceutical companies, which demonstrated commitment to professional scientific training and the social aspects of epilepsy, as well as all the colleagues who helped to organize and manage the event.

Future Epilepsy Weeks are being planned in El Salvador and Argentina.

Event Photos and video

Video: Semana de la Epilepsia Paraguay 2019

Click on a photo to view it at full size and scroll through the gallery.