KARACHI: The President of Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF), Prof Dr Muhammad Wasey Shakir stated that infectious diseases like TB, typhoid, and meningitis were some common contributors to the high ratio of epilepsy in Pakistan.
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Dr Wasey Shakir said that head injury, brain infection, diabetes, high blood pressure, and consumption of alcohol could cause epilepsy. He informed that the overall prevalence of epilepsy was only 1% in the rest of the world while in Pakistan, 2% or 2 million patients are suffering from this chronic disorder.
He said the prevalence of epilepsy was common in rural areas of the country in comparison to urban areas. According to Dr Shakir, patients can be treated and cured if the treatment of this neurological disorder begins on time.
Held in collaboration with World Epilepsy Day, the news conference was addressed by other renowned neurologists and epilepsy specialists including Dr Fauzia Siddiqui and Dr Abdul Malik, General Secretary NARF.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Muhammad Wasey said that the availability of treatment facilities and required medicines was a fundamental human right. In the case of epilepsy, which is essentially a curable disease, the government is violating the basic human right of thousands of patients by depriving them of necessary medication and treatment, he said.
Dr Shakir quoted that India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had constituted task forces at government level to control the prevalence of epilepsy from their respective countries, but no concrete step hasdbeen taken in Pakistan in this regard so far.
Dr Fauzia Siddiqui said, “Our job is to create awareness and apprise people that epilepsy is a curable disease and its treatment is available in the country.” She further stated that the authorities concerned with the health department should ensure the availability of medicines and treatment facilities for poor patients.
Dr Abdul Malik called for the training of general physicians in treating epilepsy patients, saying GPs should be trained enough to understand the signs and symptoms of epilepsy and send them to qualified neurologists for treatment.