Sanofi Epilepsy Initiatives

Partnership objective

To improve access to care for people with epilepsy in developing countries through training of primary healthcare professionals, raising awareness among communities, addressing the stigma which patients and their families are faced with, and making treatment available.

"We'll Make It": Comic book to raise awareness about epilepsy in Africa "We'll Make It": Comic book to raise awareness about epilepsy in Africa Copyright Sanofi

What are the health needs and challenges?

Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. Worldwide, about 50 million people live with epilepsy, nearly 80% of them in developing countries (1). Access to care is limited due to inadequate medical resources and medicines, as well as a lack of training of healthcare personnel, and stigma surrounding epilepsy.   

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Sanofi has initiated several programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia, in partnership with local authorities, health professionals, patient associations and NGOs. These programs combine training local health professionals, raising public awareness and fighting patients stigmatization. Affordable medicines are also made available through preferential pricing policies. In the countries where Sanofi implements programmes, we design preferential pricing policies, to make our medicines accessible to the most disadvantaged patients, within the framework of relevant laws and procurement procedures.

For these initiatives, Sanofi partners with:

  • Governmental authorities of countries where initiatives are set up, primarily Ministries of Health.
  • National or international Non-Governmental Organisations such as Santé Sud in Benin, Mali and Madagascar, Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber in Ethiopia, the Kenya Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy (KAWE), the World Health Organization for initiatives in Ghana and Vietnam (through the Sanofi Espoir Foundation).
  • Local or international academic teams such as the Department of Neurosciences of the University of Catania (Italy) for an initiative in Bolivia and the Institute of Neuroepidemiology and Tropical Neurology of the University of Limoges (France) for initiatives in Laos, Cambodia, Ecuador, Benin and Ethiopia.
  • Funding agencies such as Grand Challenges Canada for an initiative in Laos and the Comoros. 

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Sanofi epilepsy programs have been set up in the following countries: Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cambodia, Laos, Bolivia, Ghana, Vietnam (the two last ones through the Sanofi Espoir Foundation). In addition, wider programs with an epilepsy component are ongoing in Morocco, Benin, Mauritania, the Comoros and Myanmar. In June 2012, in order to raise awareness about epilepsy, Sanofi launched the comic book "We'll make it" intended to fight exclusion of children with epilepsy.

In Kenya: support to the Kenya Association for the Welfare of people with Epilepsy (KAWE) has resumed in 2016. It will allow to train healthcare professionals from the 24 epilepsy clinics throughout the country, and to train Community Health Workers so that they can conduct awareness and educational sessions among communities. 

In Laos, more than  200 primary healthcare professionals have been  trained.

In Mali, Madagascar and Benin, the Sante Sud NGO is managing almost 6000 patients with epilepsy through a rural doctors network.

In Madagascar, more than 4 600 children have been reached with educational materials.. To date, more than 100 healthcare professionals have been trained on epilepsy.

In Ethiopia, the educational comic book on epilepsy "We'll Make It" was translated in Amharic and, a Knowledge Attitude and Practice survey (KAP study) was completed in Addis Ababa and in a rural high school so as to assess its impact. Results, published in Epilepsy & Behavior, indicate that the comic book is effective in reducing prejudices and improving attitudes and practices. This comic book, has now been launched in Benin, Cameroon, the Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya and Madagascar. It is available in French, English, Malagasy and Amharic. Encouraged by these results, a version for Latin America (“Guitar Heroes”) is about to be launched by Sanofi, and a comic book for India is being developed.

In Ghana the program was implemented in 10 districts and completed in 2015 with over 1010 healthcare providers and volunteers trained. In Vietnam the program was implemented in 3 provinces and 569 healthcare workers  were trained. In both countries Information Education Communication campaigns were conducted targeting traditional healers, general public, policy makers, government health service providers, NGOs, people with epilepsy and their family and public health community.

References:

1. WHO, Media Centre. Epilepsy, Fact Sheet, Feb 2016.

Videos

Fighting exclusion of children with epilepsy in Africa

Developing access to care for people with epilepsy in Laos and Cambodia

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) Benin Ministry of Health, Cambodian Ministry of Health, Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber, Kenya Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy, Laos Ministry of Health, Madagascar Ministry of Health, Mali Ministry of Health, Mauritania Ministry of Health, Moroccan Ministry of Health, Santé Sud, University of Catania, University of Limoges, World Health Organization (WHO)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, IGOs, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Mental and Neurological Disorders

Disease(s) Epilepsy, Mental Health, Neurological Disorders

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, General population, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 12

Country(ies) Benin, Bolivia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Vietnam

Start Date 2004

More information Sanofi Access to Medicines Brochure

Anticipated completion date Ongoing