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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Beating the stigma: 5 facts about epilepsy/kifafa

I was walking out from a lecture one afternoon in college when the boy in front of me fell to the ground, unconscious. I got very frightened, there had been several cases of black students dying mysteriously and I thought, woi, another one bites the dust,,,

I bent down to look at him, he was very still. I looked about me and everyone was going about their business, some Persian and Chinese students passed by, giving me the- what’s up with your boyfriend?-look, so I beckoned another black student, a Sudanese who called to his friend in Arabic to come  and help. I carried his bag and things, and when we got to the school gate, the guards rang the nurse and said a negro was sick. 

A  Ugandan girl from my neighbourhood saw me and came to ask what was the matter, we found out the boy was a Motswana so she ran to call their country representative. He came quick, from the forth floor, in block 5. The nurse had not come, she was in first floor in the administration block.
Anyway. The representative came and drove the boy off to a clinic somewhere. I looked for him another day and introduced myself, we became friends. I wanted to ask, why did you drop on the hard tarmac like that, but I  never did.

Over 5 years later, I found myself writing stories  from questionnaires about kids with epilepsy, and when I was done I thought.
 Am I ignorant or just a typical lower middle class member of the herd?

I decided to read about epilepsy, talk to people with epilepsy, consult doctors and now I knew what this kifafa is. And the more I talked to people the more I remembered people I have met who have epilepsy.

Monday 13th February 2017 was International Epilepsy day. This year’s theme was putting epilepsy in the picture. What that means simply put is there is a need for people to learn about epilepsy, talk about epilepsy. That way, the stigma  that shrouds this condition can be reduced. So here are five facts about epilepsy.

ü  Epilepsy/ Kifafa is a brain condition that occurs when there is an injury to the brain
What can injure the brain?
Difficult births
Cerebral Malaria

ü  Anyone can get Epilepsy
Anyone? Even me?
Yes even me, and you because like in the first point, anything that injures or poisons the brain can lead to epilepsy. So wear a helmet on that boda boda okay?

ü  Epilepsy is treatable
So do you mean If I go to the clinic they will give me drugs and I’ll be fine next week?
No. What that means is, when it is discovered that you have epilepsy, a medical practitioner will give you anti-epileptic medication which helps to reduce seizures. Seizures don’t have to overtake your life.

ü  Epilepsy is not contagious
So if someone has a fit, don’t be afraid that touching them , their saliva, their urine or being close when they fart can cause you get epilepsy. Be ready to assist people with epilepsy.

ü  Not all seizures are the same
People associate epilepsy with jerking movements, sudden falls and biting one’s tongue.
Some people just seem blank or confused for  few minutes, then they continue with whatever task they were involved in.
Read more here:

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