Health service provision for people with epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa: A situational review

Type Journal Article - Epilepsy and Behavior
Title Health service provision for people with epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa: A situational review
Volume 70
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 24-32
Epilepsy is a public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where many people with the condition receive no treatment. Health-care services for epilepsy in this region have not been comprehensively assessed. We examined key features of epilepsy health services provided in SSA. This was a scoping review conducted using pre-specified protocols. We implemented an electronic search strategy to identify relevant citations using PUBMED, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), African Index Medicus (AIM), Open Grey, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar. Articles eligible for full-text review were screened and data of interest were reported. The search identified 81 eligible articles, forty-nine from East Africa, 19 from West Africa, 8 from South Africa, and 5 from Central Africa. A variety of care services were identified, with reporting of rural epilepsy care in 75% of retrieved articles mainly from East and South African countries. The majority of the rural epilepsy clinics were health worker- or nurse-led, reporting good seizure control in about two-thirds of patients using phenobarbital as the most commonly prescribed antiepileptic drug. Funding for rural epilepsy care came mainly from external donor agencies.We attempted to provide a ‘snapshot’ of epilepsy care services in SSA. The successes achieved in some of the centers are due to the use of existing primary health-care systems and employing non-physician health-care personnel. The true picture of epilepsy care coverage is not apparent due to the lack of data and proper health system structure in most parts of SSA. As more individuals begin to receive care, the long-term funding for epilepsy care in African countries will depend on the commitment of their respective governments.

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