Kenya Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy – KAWE
Project: Epilepsy Care Project
The Kenya Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy (KAWE), established in 1982, has evolved into an organisation with a strong sense of purpose, a clear vision, mission and strategic objectives.
Since 1999, when the medical training programme started, KAWE has trained 778 medical personnel who are now providing a crucial service in different mission, private and government health facilities.
KAWE is managing by qualified Board of Directors of whom 2 of them are neurologists with vast knowledge in epilepsy management. The day to day operations of KAWE are managed by the program coordinator.
Antiepileptic drug treatment is very effective in controlling seizures, yet over 90% of people with epilepsy in developing countries do not receive appropriate treatment. Inadequate training of health professionals in epilepsy care is a problem; epilepsy is generally not recognised as a public health priority. There is also under-funding of the health sector with staff shortages and inappropriate staffing, and poor maintenance of equipment and facilities.
KAWE has already conducted training courses in Epilepsy Management, targeting both the community and health professionals. Now, collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health, Division of Non Communicable Diseases, KAWE proposes to undertake a high-impact, country-wide Epilepsy Care Project.
KAWE will train 40 doctors, 80 clinical officers and 160 nurses in the management of epilepsy in the first year. Indirectly, KAWE hopes to touch the lives of the estimated 5,000 people with epilepsy and over 1 million people through local radio stations.
- To improve the level of knowledge about epilepsy for the health personnel in Kenya.
- To improve the capacity of the ministry of health to train and support epilepsy care.
KAWE proposes to work together with the Ministry of Health to develop the following:
- Radio Programmes: using local languages and Swahili. Programme content, language and time-frames will be determined through baselines surveys.
- Poster and Leaflet Development: local languages will be used to develop posters for use in the health facilities.
- Community Health Worker Training: KAWE will train 90 Community Health Workers per district during a 2-day training session.
- Training of Medical Personnel: Implementation of the project will be done in stages with most training given in the form of TOT (Training of Trainers) from national level cascading down to the community level.
- Establishment of National Epilepsy Care Committee: volunteer members from KAWE, the Kenya Society for Epilepsy, Ministry of Health, WHO, prominent doctors and various other interested parties, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, will spearhead the creation of a National Epilepsy Care Committee, to establish treatment protocols, training guidelines, drug policies and awareness campaign messages. The committee will ensure that epilepsy care in Kenya is streamlined, so that any person diagnosed with epilepsy will receive standardised care throughout Kenya, no matter health unit attended.
- National Epilepsy Training Team: once training guidelines are established, it will be necessary to develop training modules. The training modules will be developed by the National Epilepsy Training Team in unison with the National Epilepsy Care Committee. The team will undertake the following activities:
- Develop, test and produce the final training manuals for various cadres of health personnel.
- Train 8 Provincial Epilepsy Training Teams: Kenya is administratively divided into 8 provinces which are responsible for a number of Districts.
- District Epilepsy Resource Teams: The District Epilepsy Resource Teams will provide institutional support within the Ministry of Health at District level for all epilepsy concerns for that district and will:
- Identify and train all medical personnel in the District within a period of 3 years.
- Maintain a registry of people with epilepsy and drugs used for the district.
- Provide back-stop support for difficult to treat patients.
- Ensure that the issues faced by people with epilepsy in the communities are addressed.
- Periodically supervise the treatment being provided by those trained, to ensure that the medical personnel have understood and implemented what was learnt.
KAWE is receiving funding from the Nationaal Epilepsie Fonds, which funds KAWEs core activities and Terre des Hommes, which has funded several of KAWEs projects. The Ministry of health is also a key partner in terms of policy issues and advocacy.