Project: Bridging the Gender Gap
Description of the Project
In Togo, as in other areas of the developing world, poverty, illiteracy, language barriers and gender discrimination are great obstacles to obtaining proper epilepsy treatment. The population to be targeted in the project in Togo, concerned with health care education, are women and children with epilepsy as well as their family members.
Objectives of the Project
- To convey information and build knowledge among patients and family members about epilepsy
- Provide guidance in issues of seizure recognition, seizure prevention, first aid, and drug treatment.
- Training in using a seizure calendar: Patients are instructed individually and in groups on how to use symbols and pictures to document seizures in the calendar.
- Regular drug intake: Patients are shown how drugs work, which effects may be seen (including side effects) in the body, what happens when drugs are omitted or taken irregularly.
- Sleep-Wake Rhythms: Importance of healthy sleep habits, regular sleep and what may happen when sleep is deprived.
- Effects of alcohol in the body, in drug treatment and seizure provocation.
- Information on which elements of traditional medicine may be helpful and which herbal medicine may not be beneficial or harmful when used to treat the seizures. The use of shamanism is discussed critically as it is a major element of the traditional medicine in Togo.
- Pregnancy: Information about pregnancy and epilepsy, use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy and birth control are discussed with the patients, usually a referral to the physician is made when drug treated patients are pregnant.
- Work: Patients and family are shown which types of work may be dangerous for seizure prone patients. Patients are shown in role-play how the risk of injury can be minimized or avoided.
- School: the importance of education is stressed and children and their families are encouraged to attend school. Parental support is also to be provided.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- Calculation of the number of patients in the program and the reliability with which the patients and family members keep their appointments.
- Swiss Epilepsy Centre as well as other Support Groups in Wuppertal, Germany and associated Rotary Clubs are funding this project through the support group Friends of Kokou