There have been some exciting developments in our partnership in India, a country that has 1/6th of the people with epilepsy globally and treatment gaps as high as 90% in rural areas. Epilepsy is so stigmatized in parts of the country that, according to one study, 70% of married women with epilepsy concealed it from their husbands.
To help address these challenges, ROW is supporting the introduction of important services that complement the Lifeline Express Mobile Epilepsy Clinic, launched in 2009 by Dr. Mamta Bhushan Singh. Ten times per year, Dr. Singh and a small group of volunteer “Epilepsy Educators” hold weekend clinics where Dr. Singh typically evaluates 150 or more patients. Those diagnosed with epilepsy receive at least one month of free medication to start them on a path to treatment.
A generous donation is enabling the upcoming launch of a telehealth center that will include a helpline accessible to the clinic patients. The center will also proactively reach out to patients to monitor treatment and address any potential medication side-effects. When the center is up and running, the project will utilize community health workers (CHWs) to provide additional patient support before and after clinic visits. This will help increase epilepsy awareness in the community and identify epilepsy-affected households.