February 13 is recognized as the International Epilepsy Day which is meant to promote awareness regarding epilepsy in more than 120 countries across the world. People on all parts of the globe join together this day to highlight problems faced by epilepsy patients, their caretakers & their families. No matter where you live or what you do, whether you focus on social or medical aspects of epilepsy symptoms, it would be ideal that everyone joins hands & raise a global voice for this purpose. This day is a joint initiative raised by International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) & International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) for raising awareness about epilepsy as a disease.
International Epilepsy Day was started in 2015 by combined efforts of ILAE & IBE for people with epilepsy symptoms to share their experience with a global audience. This day also calls for people & organizations to advocate for proper legislations which guarantee human rights to epilepsy patients & encourage them to live to their full potential. Fear & misunderstanding still persists despite epilepsy being one of the oldest known medical conditions. Discrimination in work places & communities with epilepsy patients still exists in many parts of the world. Quite often this is more difficult for epilepsy patients to overcome than seizures themselves. This is one of the main reasons that International Epilepsy Day seeks to educate & raise awareness among the general public on facts concerning epilepsy.
Another important fact concerning epilepsy is that about 65 million people worldwide are having epilepsy symptoms. Moreover, nearly 80 percent of these epilepsy patients are residing in developing countries. Estimated proportion of active epilepsy patients with the general population is between 6 to 10 for every 1000 people. It is also estimated that there are over 10 million epilepsy patients in India itself which is close to about 1 percent of the general population. Prevalence of epilepsy even rises to about 1.9 percent among the rural population as compared to 0.6 among urban. Sad fact is that almost 75 percent of active epilepsy patients in developing parts of the world do not receive any form of treatment. Timely treatments are usually difficult to access due to non-availability or unaffordable costs of anti-seizure drugs in several low & middle income countries.
Treatment gap for epilepsy is about 75 percent in many low income countries when compared to high income countries where it is even less than 10 percent. Additionally, treatment gaps are twice as high in rural regions in comparison with urban areas. Magnitude of treatment gap in India for epilepsy patients is largely influenced by high cost of epilepsy treatment, inequitable distribution of resources in rural areas, shortage of trained medical professionals, lower quality of health-delivery infrastructure, poverty, stigma, cultural beliefs & lack of knowledge of epilepsy symptoms or inability to access anti-epileptic drugs.
International Epilepsy Day is therefore meant to raise visibility & improve public awareness towards epilepsy & epilepsy symptoms & ultimately lead to improved access to treatments in a global context. IndianMedTrip which is one of the fastest growing medical tourism companies in South Asia has picked up the mantle to spread awareness among the masses through the electronic media within the region. They have in fact thrown open an extensive network of doctors & hospitals associated with them for spreading awareness among people of the region concerning epilepsy symptoms & treatments. Healthcare experts at IndianMedTrip are well set to observe the entire month of February 2017 for educating & providing useful guidance to epilepsy patients for undergoing effective & timely treatments.