Teaching people about epilepsy

Partnership Objectives

1) Provide education, diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in low-and middle income countries.

2) Reduce stigma and help with integration of people living with epilepsy into communities.

What are the health needs and challenges?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that makes people more prone to seizures. 70 million people worldwide live with epilepsy but only 10 million people have access to adequate care. This means 90% of persons living with epilepsy in low-and middle-income countries have no access to care.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

UCB offers education, treatment and diagnosis to those in Congo, Rwanda, Mozambique, Myanmar and China. By improving community awareness on epilepsy, stigma can be addressed and those living with epilepsy can be better integrated into their communities.

In the DR Congo UCB works with the NGO Brothers of Charity in Lubumbashi to offer access to care for those living with epilepsy at the center and through the use of mobile clinics.

In Rwanda UCB supports initiatives that educate patients, communities and healthcare workers to bring access to diagnosis and treatment, supported by the government. A disease awareness campaign put in place by the Rwandan Organisation against Epilepsy and the Rwandan Biomedical Center resulted in the training of grass-root community health agents.  A total of 3,444 health agents attended the training courses.

In Mozambique the epilepsy initiative covered 16 health districts in five provinces, reaching a population of 3.4 million. Over 3400 persons living with epilepsy have been identified and benefit from this initiative. 

1,772 people have received training so far in Myanamar, providing the possibilty to reach out and educate others with the knowledge they have gained. Furthermore, 103,962 people participated in epilepsy awareness campaigns. These efforts reduce stigma and improve integration.

In 2016, 342 pediatricians completed a course in pediatric neurology organised by the Rainbow Bridge initiative. To date, the program trained physicians from 28 provinces. A Pediatric Epilepsy Primary Care Training Manual was developed and an on-line training manual is now available on the 24-hours medical broadcasting platform. Educational resources were also created and distributed in participating hospitals. Furthermore, a three minute video “Lolo, living with epilepsy” aimed to reduce the disease stigma, especially important for children, was shown in the hospitals and on eight media platform. In addition, 651 school teacher also received training on how to handle epileptic seizures and support children living with epilepsy. 

In 2016, two village doctors' training programs were organised in the “Health and Hope Fund” initiative with the Business Development Center of the Red Cross Society of China. 196 village doctors from hard-to-reach remote areas from Yunnan and inner-Mongolia attended a 15-day theoretical and practical courses.


Sustainable Development Goals

Partnership information

Company(ies) UCB

Therapeutic Focus Mental and Neurological Disorders

Disease(s) Epilepsy

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, General population, Health professionals, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 5

Country(ies) China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda

Start Date 2014

Anticipated completion date Ongoing