About 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. This means that all of us will likely know at least one person with the condition. But due to the availability of health care and the effectiveness of readily available anti-seizure drugs in countries like the U.S., unless you witness someone having a seizure, you may never know who in your circle lives with epilepsy.
Globally, 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries, and their experience with the disorder is usually quite different. More than 10 million people in Africa have epilepsy, and in the sub-Saharan region, over 90% of people with epilepsy do not receive any treatment for their seizures.
This means 9 million people live with the physical effects of untreated seizures and are also vulnerable to secondary injuries like fractures and burns, as well as crime and physical assault. Severe social stigma and prevalent traditional beliefs compound the situation, resulting in children being forced out of school, adults unable to find employment, and all risk being ostracized by their communities.