Epilepsy Support Foundation of Zimbabwe (ESF)
Project: to put reliable education measures in place to demystify epilepsy and show that it is a treatable disorder
The association was established in 1990 to support the welfare of people living with epilepsy through education, awareness advocacy, networking, medication, diagnosis, counselling and social support services.
NUMBER OF MEMBERS
ESF programmes are community based. This is largely because people with epilepsy are hidden within the shadows of the community. Members are therefore never regular, but on average, the Epilepsy Centre receives 500 epilepsy cases per year, while community based programmes reach out to twice as many people. Not all people will register with ESF. 200 people registered in 2006, 92 of them being new cases.
PROBLEM TO BE ADDRESSED
The members of largely apostolic, traditional community of Buhera District mystify epilepsy, affecting modern day treatment. This affects the number of cases brought for diagnosis, while those who manage to get treatment find it difficult to comply. High poverty levels affect compliance. There is inadequate information regarding epilepsy in the community for people living with epilepsy, families, schools and health centres.
POPULATION TO BE TARGETED
The community-based programme will target Buhera Rural District of Manicaland Province which is 94% rural with two semi-urban growth points and a farming economy of up to 200,000 inhabitants. The district is remote and has had little epilepsy education; hence the need to target it now. Transport and communication are fair. With one hospital, health standards are below average. Core targets will be people living with epilepsy followed by schools, health centres, traditional leaders, traditional healers and religious leaders.
ANTICIPATED IMPACT OF THE PROGRAM
To reduce the myth surrounding epilepsy, so that the community will be encouraged to obtain diagnosis. With support for families and persons living with epilepsy, compliance will be instilled. The project seeks to put reliable education measures in place that remind the community that epilepsy is treatable, make epilepsy services accessible and design models for replication in other 59 districts of the country.
Fuel supplies are erratic in the country. This problem has already been solved by a successful application to obtain a special allocation from the national oil supplier. The program will have a resident coordinator in Buhera District to solve the anticipated unavailability of fuel in the country.
The program seeks to demystify epilepsy; to encourage the community to support treatment for epilepsy; to encourage persons living with epilepsy to comply with treatment; to improve resources for the management of epilepsy in the district; and to develop a model for intervention in other areas.
ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAMME
- Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of programme activities will ensure that the programme goals are achieved.
- The African Institute of Social Administrators (XISA) offered free consultancy services for the project.
- The Fundraising Trainers Association (FTA) offered discounted resource mobilisation training and services.
- Murambinda General Hospital embraced the project
- Friends of Murambinda Hospital, an organisation of helpers of the hospital, have shown willingness to become involved.
- The National Mental Health Coordinator, to which epilepsy is grouped, has indicated support for the project.
- The former President of the Medical Association promised to seek support from that association.
- The local government showed interest in the project and has invited a meeting with the association.
SUSTAINABILITY OF PROGRAMME AFTER IBE FUNDING
- The programme will take 12 months after which it will be transformed into the National Rural Epilepsy Programme supported by the national office and partners.
- The taskforce put in place will be permanent to improve on collaboration, networking, evaluation, monitoring, and service delivery.
- The Fundraising Trainers Association will assist to build resource mobilisation capacity.
- It is hoped that the ESF national office and the Ministry of Health will be able to continue employing key personnel for sustaining the programme.
- The community-based system has been proved to succeed within limited resource settings. The project will therefore align itself with this initiative of the government with a view of have long benefits from their voluntary home based caregivers.
- The documentary and rehabilitation manual produced will be used for marketing the programme for sustenance and expansion.