Another significant step has been taken in the epilepsy communitys efforts to ensure that people with epilepsy have access to the care and services they need. At the recent meeting of the Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, the member nations of North and South America and the Caribbean region passed a resolution supporting the Strategy and Plan of Action on Epilepsy. This action formally establishes epilepsy as a health care priority in the region.
A great deal of gratitude is due to Carlos Acevedo (IBE Secretary General) and Marco Medina (Honduras) who, together with Dr Jorge Rodriguez of PAHO has worked over many months and with complete dedication to create the Strategic Plan for Epilepsy that has now been approved by PAHO.
This success was also facilitated by the combined efforts of IBE, ILAE and the WHO under the banner of the joint Global Campaign Against Epilepsy initiative.
The goal of the strategic plan is to strengthen an integrated response to develop lifelong programs for people with epilepsy that will include prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. Some of the driving principles behind the resolution include universal access to care, respect for human rights and protection of vulnerable populations, while maintaining respect for the historical and cultural identities of the communities.
The resolution requires that the member nations develop plans and show progress in implementing such plans over the next ten years. To ensure that these efforts begin without delay and to achieve better communications within the region, a workshop is being held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras at which the Strategic Plan for Epilepsy will be launched.
Specific objectives of the workshop:
- Present the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on Epilepsy, approved by the PAHO Directing Council (2011), and discuss practical ways of implementation of the Regional Strategy in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean; evaluating the main needs and priorities as well as the role of primary care (PHC).
- Evaluate the experiences of adaptation and implementation of intervention guide (IG) for epilepsy in non-specialized health settings (mhGAP) and the training of primary health care workers.
- Present and discuss the experiences and lessons learned related to epilepsy in Honduras, the project of cooperation between countries (Panama, Dominican Republic and Honduras), and other Latin American countries.
- Analyze the lines of technical cooperation of PAHO / WHO in this field for the period 2012-13, with support from IBE and ILAE.
The workshop will be attended by representatives from IBE, ILAE and the WHO will participate, with the final day of the 3-day meeting being dedicated to work on the Strategic Plan. Once the workshop is completed there will be a clearer picture of how the initiative will be developed.