Epigraph Vol. 8 Issue 4, Fall 2006

An Epilepsy Network In Rural Mali

Following the installation in rural areas of Mali, of nearly a hundred general practitioners, made possible by the relentless work of the Santé-Sud NGO (Marseille, France), and funded by the European Community, a network of 6 GPs was set up to offer comprehensive diagnosis and care for patients with epilepsy in areas where nothing was available. Such actions necessitate both expertise on epilepsy for accurate diagnosis, and drugs for treatment. The RARE (Reseau Action Recherche Epilepsie, network action research epilepsy) was launched by Dr Guy FARNARIER (Marseille) and Dr Karamoko NIMAGA in 2003, in collaboration with the Association of Rural Doctors of Mali. There have already been 3 teaching seminars (with Dr Pierre GENTON, Marseille), together with field work with patients, carers, and, in 2005, the first EEG recordings in rural areas. The level of expertise about epilepsy has markedly risen among doctors, mainly within the RARE network, but also among other rural general practitioners, due to the regular contacts with RARE members. About 1,000 patients with epilepsy have now been included in a prospective database, and treated, either with phenobarbital or with valproate, both drugs made available to the public at locally affordable prizes, in part thanks to the « Access to Drugs » international programme of Sanofi-Aventis. The epilepsy network already includes other rural practitioners, and will in the near future introduce both other anticonvulsants, and EEG.

Karamoko Nimaga, Bamako, Mali - santesud@afribone.net.ml
Guy Farnarier, Marseille, France - guy.farnarier@ap-hm.fr