Chapter Name: Epilepsy Society of Ghana
Report By: Dr Albert akpalu
Ghana Fights Against Epilepsy Initiatitve (GFAEI)
Summary of Activities:
In Ghana, it is estimated that 1% of the population live with epilepsy, representing 270 000 people, with a treatment gap of 85%. It is in that context that the Ghana Ministry of Health, in collaboration with WHO, launched the Fight against epilepsy initiative in 2012. The goals of the five-year project were to improve the identification and management of people with convulsive forms of epilepsy within the existing primary health care system and to develop a model of epilepsy care at the community level that could be scaled up nationwide. The project was implemented gradually across five regions comprised of 10 districts1 and 55 hospitals and clinics, in the following steps: (i) developing a strategy for delivering epilepsy care, (ii) training health care workers and volunteers, (iii) raising awareness and educating communities, (iv) engaging traditional and faith healers and
(v) strengthening monitoring and evaluation of epilepsy.
Thus in one Ghanaian site (Ashiedu Keteke, an urban region of Accra), the contact coverage (based upon a country prevalence of 1%) rose from 9.4% in 2012, to 25.7% in 2016, after instigation of the programme (WHO 2018). However the coverage is still too low, and further measures are needed to increase it. Better understanding, therefore, of the perceptions of epilepsy and the barriers to implementation of the kit particularly in urban communities need to be examined. Disentangling differences between those experiences in urban and rural societies might then open the opportunity to enable local health leaders to design appropriate healthcare models for each.
Access and availability of funds to implement activities
Sustainability and nationwide roll out of GFAEI programs
To engage in an Epidemiological study (Epilepsy Innovation Study in Africa)
A clear opening to improve the care of PWE resides in the fact that mobile technology is advancing rapidly throughout LMICs. Training PHWs in basic epilepsy diagnoses and then enabling them to capture phenotypic data on mobile devices that can, through algorithms, determine the most appropriate patient pathway may reduce the diagnostic gap. This would also offer a methodology for non-physicians to operate in non-medical environments. Moreover, the use of health-related short messaging services (SMS) has found traction in SSA, and offers a medium to improve adherence to AEM. The underpinning of these aspects in App-based technologies future-proofs the proposed project supporting an enduring benefit to the local populations.
Officer Election Date: September 2019
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