Epilepsy Support Association of Ethiopia
Project: Awareness Raising
Epilepsy is the most prevalent non-traumatic neurological disorder in Africa. In Ethiopia, while general health care facilities are inadequate, neurological services are even rudimentary with only five neurologists and three neurosurgeons working with inadequate neurodiagnostic facilities and erratic drug supply. In addition, the negative role played by the inherent socio-economic situation and endemic tropical diseases, H.I.V.-related C.N.S problems and road traffic accidents are becoming major causes of epilepsy.
Epilepsy Support Association of Ethiopia (ESAE) was formed in 1998 and was incorporated as an Ethiopian Chapter of IBE in September 1999. ESAE has 637 members, of these, 245 reside outside the capital city, Addis Ababa.
The objectives of ESAE are:
- to promote better understanding of epilepsy and the needs of people with epilepsy by conducting community educational campaigns
- to advocate for non-discriminatory practices regarding persons with epilepsy.
According to studies on epilepsy in Ethiopia, there are about 400,000 people with epilepsy (in a country of 74 million habitants). Around 85% are children, of whom just 3% are receiving medical treatment due to the stigma attached to this disorder.
It is therefore imperative to undertake an educational campaign in schools to create awareness and promote the care and medical treatment of children and adolescents with epilepsy.
Description of the Project
Understanding the impact of epilepsy and its treatment in children goes beyond simply considering the effects of unexpected seizures but recognizes the psychological, social and behavioral consequences of epilepsy.
The prevailing attitude towards people with epilepsy in the country is also true in schools, which causes children with epilepsy to lose confidence and for parents to be ashamed of the condition. This results in low self-esteem, making the students perform badly in class and leading to poor interaction with their peers. More worrying still, school authorities may expel a child who develops epilepsy in school because he contaminates the other children. In addition to that, ignorance, and poor economic status of the parents, the students with epilepsy do not have access to medical treatment making the prevalence considerably high.
This project is aimed at raising the awareness of a total 13, 555 students through actively participating 150 students and 50 teachers of five major high schools in Addis Ababa.
Objectives of the Project
The overall objective is to raise the awareness of students and teachers in five high schools (namely Yekatit 12, Tikur Ambessa, Menelik II, Addis Ketema and Entoto Senior Secondary Schools) and the external community; and to empower 10 persons with epilepsy to be self-sufficient economically through income generating skills.
This will be achieved through the following activities:
- Training of trainers, 10 persons with epilepsy or their care givers (2 for each high school), on the basics of epilepsy;
- Publication of awareness raising leaflets, posters and booklets;
- Training of 10 persons with epilepsy on various marketable skills (tailoring, tree planting, craft making, hair dressing, and catering or food preparation) for three months;
- Weekly awareness creation sessions for 30 students/week and 10 teachers/week in five high schools on basics of epilepsy;
- Provision of evening managerial skills training program to 5 Executive Committee members.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- A baseline survey at start up to establish knowledge, attitude and practice towards epilepsy to be used to compare with the final results of the project.
- A Project Advisory Committee will be established to monitor the progress of the project, which will include 2 representatives of Addis Ababa Health Bureau and Education Bureau
- A mid-term evaluation at the end of the sixth month of the project period to investigate how far planned activities have been accomplished. Recommendations of the mid term evaluation will be used to amend the remaining part of the project as appropriate.
- The project coordinator will be responsible for reporting the progress of the project to the funding agencies by the end of the mid-term and by the end of the project.
- Final evaluation will be carried out by joint participation of all stakeholders.
The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Addis Ababa Education Bureau, which agreed to provide funding of US$12,000. Addis Ababa City Health Bureau is one of the main partners contributing US$10,000 and offering heath professionals to assist with the training process. Other partners include Handicap International, Ethiopian Mental Health Association, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, and Save the Children partners (UK, USA, Norway and Sweden).