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Epilepsy affects about 1% of the population of the South-East Asia Region of WHO thus there are approximately 15 million people with epilepsy in the Region.

Despite global advances in modern medicine, epilepsy continues to be surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Patients with epilepsy may be taken to faith healers rather than medical doctors, and only 10-20% of all patients with epilepsy receive appropriate treatment. People with epilepsy and their families have suffered ostracism by society and deprived of treatment, leading to frequent injuries and sometimes, death. The situation is particularly bad in rural and remote areas where almost no services for epilepsy are available.

However, as we take courage from the fact that 70 to 80% of people with epilepsy can lead normal lives if properly treated, it is time to introspect as to why 80 to 90% of people with epilepsy are not being treated at all. We must find answers and take appropriate action now.

In cooperation with the governments of Member Countries, SEARO hopes to launch nationwide projects in each country to reduce the treatment gap in epilepsy. To carry forward this ambitious project, SEARO recognizes that the support of multiple partners is needed. One of the important partnerships is the collaboration between WHO, the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for
Epilepsy through the Global Campaign Against Epilepsy.

This publication which is a comprehensive review of epidemiology and available services in the Region, aims at further strengthening WHO’s initiative to assist Member States to deliver at least the minimum services for neuropsychiatric conditions, using community-based health care providers. It provides valuable infomation regarding multifaceted aspects of epilepsy and how to cope with the challenges posed by this mystified and misunderstood disorder.

It is only then that people with epilepsy can emerge from the shadows.

Click here to download this report.