Chapter Spotlight: Thailand
The Epilepsy Society of Thailand (EST) was established in 1996. The Society was formally announced as the Thailand Chapter of ILAE in Dublin, Ireland, during the 22nd IEC in 1997. Starting from a small group of physicians, the EST became a multidisciplinary team including adult neurologists, pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons. Professor Pongsakdi Visudiphan, Professor Surang Choemchanya and Professor Somchai Towanabut served as past presidents of EST, and Professor Anannit Visudtibhan is the current president. Executive committee members have been elected every 2 years.
Since it was established in 1996, the mission of EST has been to improve the standard of care for epileptic patients, to improve the quality of treatment, and to provide up-to-date knowledge about epilepsy to both general practitioners and patients. In 2019 the EST celebrates its twenty-third anniversary and has incorporated additional mission to provide appropriate utilization of the new modalities of investigation and treatment to the patients and to strengthen the co-operation with the Thai government to increase awareness of epilepsy in the country
- Annual scientific meeting in the capital city Bangkok for 2-3 days with international guest speakers to address interesting and up-to-date topics in the field of epilepsy.
Photos from the 21st annual epilepsy conference:
Photos from the 22nd annual epilepsy conference:
- Basic or advanced EEG workshop for the practitioners
- Epilepsy course for neurology residents
- EEG course for EEG technicians
- One day epilepsy symposium in cooperation with private sector
- Epilepsy lecture in conjoined educational program organized by Neurology Association of Thailand in provincial hospitals 2 -3 times annually
Regular regional activity
- One-day epilepsy camp in Chiang Mai province (northern region) during purple day or international epilepsy day every year. The invited participants, patients and family, come from provinces around northern region. This activity is free-of-charge and for the purpose of improving care of epilepsy using a patient-based approach
- Educational activities for epileptic patients in Songkla province (southern region), Ubon Ratchathani province (eastern region) during international epilepsy day
- In 2005, Bangkok hosted the 5th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy conference (AOEC)
- In 2013, prior to the 17th EST annual meeting, EST hosted the international ASEPA workshop on epilepsy surgery in Bangkok
- In 2019, Thailand is honored to be the host for 33rd International Epilepsy Congress
Education resources and activities
- Four editions of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the country; 4th version launched in 2016
- Quick reference handbook of epilepsy and EEG textbook in Thai language; Update pending
- Epilepsy Digest, a Thai bulletin, collected academic articles and interesting topics on epilepsy, published in EST website 3 issues/year
- All educational resources can be accessed on the official EST website www.thaiepilepsysociety.com
- Inter-hospital Epilepsy Surgery Conference every 3 months to discuss and share ideas regarding epilepsy patients. Four university hospitals in Bangkok rotate hosting this activity. Tele-conference of this activity is planned as the next step for spreading knowledge outside of the capital city. Intensive epilepsy surgery can be done in major university in capital city whereas uncomplicated epilepsy surgery can be performed in regional university hospital
- EST has been involved as an adviser and resource to solve problematic epilepsy issues. EST established guidelines for HLA-B* 1502 screening and for the safety issue of drivers’ licenses in epileptic patients.
- EST has been involved in the certification examination for epilepsy fellowship training in Thailand. Three hospital centers in Thailand can operate the two-year course for Internal Medicine board-certified practitioners interested in this field.
EST has supported and worked in close cooperation with the Epilepsy Association of Thailand (EAT), which was established in 2002. Recent activity of EAT includes increasing awareness of epilepsy via various activities, such as social media communication and running campaigns for epileptic patients. Members of EAT are included in activities with patients and care takers, nurses and pharmacists. EST regularly supports members of EAT, for example, provides partial funding for EAT members to attend international epilepsy meetings.
Via social networks, EAT has actively publicized useful information on epilepsy since 2016. It is currently a practical tool in rendering correct information to the public and is in the process of improving quality of the content.
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