Epilepsy is a very stigmatizing disease, particularly in parts of Africa, including DRC, where it is wrongly considered contagious especially via the saliva during a seizure. Further, a seizure is often thought to be sign of possession by spirits, which in turn pose obstacles to seek medical treatment and leads to social exclusion and discrimination : epileptic children often leave school early, have problems finding a spouse, and have fewer children than the rest of the population and are at high risk of being socially excluded.
Doctor Lopay, a very active public health specialist in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo seeks support to be able to treat epileptic patients in his region.
Given the fact that most inhabitants in the Region are already poor, those persons suffering from epilepsy belong to the poorest part of the population due to the above-mentioned reasons. They are highly vulnerable for malnutrition, often seek health care very late due to lack of money for paying treatment, and often die young.
Some of the villages are difficult access, especially during rainy season. A distance of 100 km might take 10-12 hours. In some areas, not even mud roads exist and utilization of a motorbike is necessary. Further, at least one mobile clinic is needed.
For his project, doctor Lopay and his team need an annual budget of around 26.000 USD (around 22.900 EUR). These costs include medicines, transportation costs for the supervisors, mobile clinics, training of health personnel, awareness raising campaigns, etc.
According to Dr. Lopay, the staff of the project is staff of the ministry of health of DRC. All are highly motivated, but lack financial resources to go ahead even though all of them identified the great need of treatment of epilepsy patients already years ago. Therefore we are now trying to raise money by this Crowdfunding plattform.