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Alert!! Over two million suffer from epilepsy in Pakistan

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    Over two million Pakistanis suffer from epilepsy that is around five per cent of the world population of epilepsy patients, according to health experts.

    Epilepsy is treatable but lack of awareness and unavailability of qualified neurologists are key factors forcing a vast majority of patients to live without the required treatment, said Dr Naila Shahbaz while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.

    The event was organised at the Karachi Press Club by the Pakistan Society of Neurology (PSN) and Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF) as part of awareness programmes on World Purple Day being observed across the world on Thursday.

    Dr Shahbaz said that of the 50 million people suffering from epilepsy across the world, nearly 2.5 million resided in Pakistan.“In our society there is a common belief that epilepsy is not a disease but a supernatural phenomenon triggered by demons or jinns. This only benefits quacks and fake healers,” she said.

    Dr Abdul Malik said the PSN and NARF had started a two-tier drive with the support of colleagues elsewhere in the world as despite being developed countries “the stigma still remains widespread even in the United States and the United Kingdom”.

    He said the incidence of the disease in Pakistan was higher due to lack of awareness and increase in infectious disease and both of them could effectively be prevented.

    Prof Arif Herakar spoke about different types of epilepsy ranging from brief spells to generalized convulsions and each type had a different management plan. Epileptics could lead a normal productive life; they could marry and had children without any consequences if properly managed, he added.

    The health experts said epileptic seizures or fits were usually brief and settled on their own. In case of fits, the patients should be turned onto their left side and damaging material be removed from their surroundings, they said. They advised people not to cover patient’s mouth with anything. They also advised epilepsy patients to carry an information card in case they had a seizure while in public.

    Dr Shahbaz said women with epilepsy should not be singled out or considered outcast. There was no harm in their getting married and having children, she said. Between fits, a patient remained completely normal and at times more intelligent than a normal person, she added.

    ‘Over two million suffer from epilepsy in Pakistan’ - Pakistan - DAWN.COM