KARACHI – Health experts have said that prevalence of epilepsy is one percent, according to the studies, which means that there are about 0.2 million people, out of approximate 20 million population of the City, are suffering from epilepsy.

The WHO gives a figure of 50 million people who are epileptic; 73 percent of these patients are not receiving treatment in underdeveloped countries, they said while speaking at an awareness seminar held at Arag Auditorium of Dow Medical College, Karachi here on Tuesday.

Dow University of Health Sciences organised the seminar to celebrate the World Epilepsy Day. The objective of the seminar was to raise awareness regarding epilepsy and thinking out plans for making improvements in epilepsy care in Pakistan.

The seminar was processed by Professional Excellence Award Presentation to Prof Akhter Ahmed, former professor of neurology for his meritorious service in the field of neurology and founding the Department of Neurology, Civil Hospital/Dow Medical College Karachi. It was attended by healthcare professionals as well as patients of epilepsy.

Speakers, included DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan, Prof Dr Junaid Ashraf, Prof Saleem Ilyas, Prof Razaur Rehman, Dr Yasmin Hasan, Dr Naila Naeem Shahbaz, Dr AbidHussain, Prof Junaid Ashraf and Prof Aisha Mehnaz.

Prof Masood Hameed Khan stressed the need for research in this field and assured his full support in the improvement of services for epilepsy patients. He also informed the audience of Centre for Child Development established at Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, DUHS to provide multidisciplinary care to pediatric patients of epilepsy.

Dr Saleem Ilyas, Professor of Neurology and Director of Professional Development Centre, DUHS in his talk stressed on the fact that prevalence of epilepsy is one percent according to the studies which means that in the city of approximately 20 million people like Karachi, there are about 0.2 million people are suffering from epilepsy.

WHO gives a figure of 50 million people who are epileptic; 73 per cent of these patients are not receiving treatment in underdeveloped countries. According to an estimate, in Karachi only about 60 to 70 percent patients of epilepsy are not receiving treatment. The treatment gaps are bigger in rural areas which need to be taken care of. This can only be done through awareness; reaching these people through media, providing more information to these people and to improve epilepsy care services in different public sector hospitals Karachi.

Dr Abid Hussain, Assistant Professor and Incharge Paediatric Epilepsy Clinic, Department of Paediatric, DMC&CHK, DUHS in his talk on “Seizures in children” told the audience that In Pakistan, there are 1.8 million epileptics and affected age group is mainly young adults.

Prof Razaur Rehman, Professor of Psychiatry, DUHS spoke on “Breaking down the stigma of epilepsy” because there are many myths associated with epilepsy that has no scientific basis. It was stressed that epileptics should be treated like other patients and quality of life of these patients should be made better through awareness programmes and through better service.

Later, Prof Masood Hameed Khan presented Professional Excellence Award to Prof Akhter Ahmed.