In low-income countries, human rights violations are widespread and include being denied employment and the right to marry. Children are frequently taken out of school, leading to limited opportunities in life. Epilepsy stigma often begins with misconceptions such as epilepsy is contagious or that its origins are spiritual. This leads to people seeking cures from traditional healers (often witch doctors) rather than medical providers. These healers not only perpetuate myths about epilepsy, they often charge more than professional medical providers.
ROW Foundation has many partnerships designed to address stigmas. These partners use awareness campaigns, door-to-door outreach, media promotions, printed literature, and education efforts aimed at key groups who encounter people with epilepsy in their daily activities such as teachers and health workers.
When people learn more about the disease and find out that treatment options are available and affordable, they are less likely to seek help from traditional healers. And successful treatment provides a community with living examples that epilepsy is a medical condition that can be treated.
The name “ROW Foundation” goes back to when OWP and ROW’s co-founder, Scott Boyer, was working as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. He saw marketing bar graphs showing high sales in wealthy places like the US, Japan, the European Union, and emerging markets like China and India. All other countries were relegated to one barely noticeable bar titled “ROW,” or “Rest Of World.”
Though negligible as pharmaceutical markets, these ROW countries include about half the world’s population. Many have high rates of poverty and low availability of healthcare options. Scott named the ROW Foundation in honor of those living in the Rest of World, and set a clear vision for OWP and ROW:
If you would like to help ROW establish and extend our partnerships with epilepsy-related organizations you can get in touch with us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.