The forgotten are people who are suffering day and night and those around them do not care that they are suffering. Their neighbors fear them, their relatives who were raised together in the same house do not want even to touch them. Who are they? they are the Epileptic people condemned to live miserable lives due to their condition.
Many a people believe that this disease is a curse or witchcraft making them avoid or literally run away from people suffering from Epilepsy. From the research I have done, many people believe that when the epileptic patient falls down, and he/she farts, that it is infectious. In some of the villages we visited, we found that most of the epileptic patients had been abandoned by their parents and were left under the custody of their grandparents.
I was moved to tears on seeing how this patients suffer; some falling into fire, water and stones where many had wounds and scars to show for it. Some had even gotten to a stage where they were passing stools and urinating on themselves, with no possibilities of a clothes change due to lack of clothing since no one is willing to donate clothes to them. They believe that epilepsy cannot be treated or managed and this makes the patients suffer so much.
I have realized that many people suffer and make their people suffer due to ignorance. they do not have hard facts on Epilepsy and that it is a disease like any other that can be managed and even treated. With is in mind i volunteered to mobilize and sensitize the community on Epilepsy letting the world know that there are people who suffer from Epilepsy just because of lack of information, support and medicine. The main objective of this publication is to let the world know of the health condition in D.R.C.
After knowing all these and seeing how the epileptic People are suffering, i started looking for solutions. the first thing I did was inform, mobilize and sensitize them so that they may know that Epilepsy is not witchcraft, a curse or demonic disease.
I told them that Epilepsy is a disease like any other and can be prevented, managed or even treated and that a fart from an epileptic person is not infectious and cannot cause epilepsy. I gave them so many examples of people they know that had been treated at the MHCD hospital and even had testimonies from the former patients which convinced them that it is a disease like any other.
I used Impact Radio ( A department of communication n MHCD) in sensitizing and informing thousands of people. I organized epileptic campaigns, going into the villages and gathering people, letting them know about Epilepsy, I visited churches and community based organizations, teaching and making them aware of epilepsy and organizing mobile clinics. In the mobile clinics we used to teach them on how to prevent manage and treat epilepsy and giving them free epileptic medicines at the same time donating clothes.
- The main challenge we get is that there are so many villages that we have to visit so that we can educate them but we do not have any support. The Impact Radio that we use is situated in the village where there is no electricity so we have a generator and we purchase of fuel which is very expensive.
- In the mobile clinics, we get so many patients than medicines we carry with ourselves and this is because epileptic department does not have any support. I have to personally finance medicines, fuel for vehicles and support for the medical officers coming along with me which is very expensive. This is a very big challenge for us that makes it difficult for us to work effectively.
- Those that we find are seriously sick are very poor. They do not even have $1 to contribute to medicine and we do not have enough support to freely treat them so this is as i said above, it is a big challenge to us financially
I kindly please request all well wisher to join hands with us in one way or another so that together we may continue to fight epilepsy in Uvira Districk and continue informing the world on epilepsy and epileptic people.
Dr. Luc Mulimbalimba