EPILEPSY BATTLE

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TAWANDA MUNYUKI writes

A Zambian living with epilepsy says epileptic people need more love and support than discrimination.

Kabemba Mwale has also cautioned persons living with epilepsy against discontinuing their treatment for no apparent reason.

The Kabemba Mwale Epilepsy Foundation (KMEF) president was speaking when she featured on Millennium radio’s the Health Talk program, ahead of the World Epilepsy Day commemoration which falls on February 11.

“There is still a lot of stigma out there against people living with epilepsy sometimes even from family members which should not be the case,” Ms. Mwale said.

She said that people living with epilepsy can always stick to treatment despite there being a cure for it.

“Currently there is no cure for epilepsy but treatment is available in health centres and that is why we always urge people to take their medication even when they are not having seizures,” she stated.

She explained that she has been living with epilepsy for over twenty years and has not had seizures in the last five years.

“But I’m still on medication,” she said.

And Hope Sikuka, 25, who has lived with epilepsy all her life, said stigma is the biggest challenge facing people living the disease.

Ms. Sikuka said she is still stigmatised by some of the family members despite living with the condition all her life.

“It has not been easy. People look at you and talk to you in a certain way, making you feel like you don’t belong among them,” she said.

Ms. Sikuka described love and support from friends and family as most important for persons living with her condition.

Sandra Mbolela, on the other hand, explained that her condition was as results of the two road traffic accidents she was involved in.

Ms. Mbolela said though she developed epilepsy when she was already an adult, she has managed to live with the condition.

She said there is need to end the myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease.

She observed that some people still believe that suffering from epilepsy is spiritual or a result of witchcraft.

“It is unfortunate that some people think that people living with epilepsy have either been bewitched or are cursed,” she said.

Mrs. Mbolela urged people to establish the correct information on the disease in order to put an end to the myths and misconceptions they may have about it.

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