Stigma, discrimination hinder Malawi's epilepsy fight
The government has lamented that stigma and discrimination are the main obstacles to the nation's effort to combat epilepsy-Meclina Chirwa.
Malawi-The government has lamented that stigma and discrimination are the main obstacles to the nation's effort to combat epilepsy, writes Meclina Chirwa.
During the celebration of World Epilepsy Day on Thursday at Chorwe Ground in the vicinity of Senior Chief Kalumo in the Ntchisi district, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda made this statement.
According to Chiponda, the government promotes community involvement to end societal discrimination against those who have epilepsy.
"As a government, we advocate for peace among Malawians. The local MP bemoaned the fact that some villages' parents hide their epileptic children, which is very unfair to the kids. Like everyone else, they have rights, and they should exercise those rights. They mistreat them as if they had psychological problems. To close the knowledge gap in the communities, we need civic education,” she said.
She promised that the government would make every effort to ensure that all district hospitals across the nation had access to enough epilepsy medications.
"In addition to supporting civic education, we must also motivate them to take their medications consistently. On this issue, my ministry will make sure that all district hospitals in Malawi have access to epilepsy medications,” she said.
“However, we are also urging district hospitals to establish outreach clinics,” she added, noting that some people must travel great distances to obtain medication.
The chief obstacles to the fight against the disease, according to Chifundo Zamadunga Phiri, coordinator of the National Epilepsy Association, are the lack of adequate drugs in the facilities and the knowledge gap.
"We discover that the drugs are not available when you go to the hospital, which results in long-term serious conditions in people with epilepsy. We want the government to provide enough anti-epileptic medications for health centres and district hospitals. To end stigma and discrimination, awareness should be the primary focus,” she said.
In Malawi, about 400,000 people suffer from epilepsy. The goal of this year's theme was to eradicate stigma and discrimination.