Gaborone’s first citizen has challenged Batswana to familiarise themselves with epileptic seizures so as to equip themselves with knowledge and first aid tips to be able to assist those living with the condition during an attack.
Officiating at the fourth annual young epilepsy purple walk event, Gaborone City Mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe noted that epileptic seizures are common, hence the need for the community to learn more about them, especially that they usually do not require emergency medical attention.
The walk that attracted multitudes, started early Saturday from Grand Palm Hotel to Zambezi Towers at CBD and back. Thutlwe said that epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders affecting people in Botswana and millions worldwide. It is a group of disorders of the central nervous system, specifically the brain and is characterised by recurrent unprovoked seizures.
“Of the 50 million people worldwide estimated to be having epilepsy, nearly 80% of them live in low and middle-income States where the cause is unknown for 60% of the estimated population. For the remaining 40%, epilepsy is associated with brain damage suffered from, before, during or around the time of delivery, congenital abnormalities or genetic conditions with associated brain malformations, severe head injury, infection of the brain such as meningitis and brain cancers,” he said.
Thutlwe called on people to come out when having epilepsy because it is like any other condition and controllable as its medication is available in government health facilities. He said that epilepsy is not a communicable disease therefore cannot be passed from one person to the other. “I call on the nation to join hands with us and declare and dedicate our support
He stated that such support would also ease the high rate of psychological conditions associated with epilepsy such as anxiety and depression, which in turn are exacerbated by the societal rejection.
Thutlwe revealed that mortality from epilepsy arises from drowning, burns, and falls during seizures. He said by assisting them in times of need, such complications can be prevented and severe disability or death averted.
“I wish we could always remember that people suffering from epilepsy need our understanding and support to be able to overcome their conditions and live a normal life. We need to develop a positive attitude towards their plight, overcome our myths and open our hearts to accept and comfort them,” Thutlwe said.
For his part, Ishmael Nshakazhogwe, who is the president of Young Epilepsy Botswana said seizure occur when the normal electrical balance in the brain is lost. He stated that the brain nerve cells misfire, either firing when they shouldn’t, nor not firing when they should which results in the physical effects of sudden, brief amd uncontrolled bursts of abnormal electrical activity. Nshakazhogwe said people should be aware that seizure scould happen to anyone at any time without warning and for no apparent reason.