chapter  21
Treatment of Epilepsy in Africa: Traditional Systems
ByAmadou Gallo Diop andMamadou Habib Thiam
Pages 4

Conditions and Management of Epilepsy in Africa It is now well recognized that despite the availability of efficient means of treat­

ment for epilepsy, the majority of people suffering from this disorder in Africa and many other developing countries are not treated. Also a large proportion of the population, who can geographically and financially reach the modem medical health care structures, are discontinually treated. It is either because their poverty does not allow them to afford the cheapest drugs or they have not been well informed about the necessity of a long-term treatment. Treatment gap, the difference between the number of people with active epilepsy and the number whose seizures are being appropriately treated in a given population at a given point of time, expressed as percentage, is highly prevalent in developing countries.1 It is estimated that about 80% of people with active epilepsy in developing countries are not appropriately being treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). In a prospective study in Ethiopia, of the 139 people with previously undiagnosed epilepsy, only 39% of patients were receiving AEDs (mainly phenobarbital), 19% were using only traditional treatments, and 42% were not on any treatment, either modern medicine or traditional treat­ ment.2