Epilepsy damaging lives in Raja

5 Mar 2012

Epilepsy damaging lives in Raja

1 March 2012 - Authorities in a Western Bahr El-Ghazal State county have voiced concern about widespread cases of epilepsy among its residents, according to anUNMISS team on a three-day assessment mission to the area.

"The most commonly known disease that we have is epilepsy, which is widespread in Sopo, Boro-medina and Raja," said Dr. Yasir Mohamed Biajo, medical director at Raja County Teaching Hospital.

The Raja Catholic Church had previously donated drugs to epilepsy sufferers, but they had since run out, he added.

Dr. Baijo stressed the need to train medical experts in epilepsy care and create a special centre for certain sufferers of the disease. "As the drugs can disfigure the foetus, we need special care for the administration of epilepsy drugs to children and pregnant women."

Acknowledging the high prevalence of epilepsy, County Commissioner Rizik Dominic urged the central government Ministry of Health to send in medical experts to investigate the disease.

"Up to now, we have not got a solution to the cause of epilepsy," said Mr. Dominic. He thanked health-related organizations in the area for their support and urged them to focus more on epilepsy and river blindness.

"This disease (epilepsy) has destroyed our people here in Raja ... youth, men, women, children and old-aged," said County Social Worker Christina Bernardo Tamete, adding that it has no cure, but can only be managed using medication.

"This disease (has been) affecting me since childhood," said epilepsy sufferer Asif Robo Musa, adding that he had been managing his epileptic fits successfully for the last two years, thanks to medication he had been receiving from Raja Hospital since 2010.

But the 17-year-old added that a shortage of medication since July 2011 had led to a recurrence of fits, which were preventing him from working.