The discussion formed part of Ghana’s celebration of World Brain Day which was dedicated to addressing Epilepsy. It is a chronic disorder, accompanied by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well.
Sammy Ohene explained that persons involved in motorbike accidents particularly
those without helmets have a higher chance of getting epilepsy
“If you fall and you have a head injury you increase the chances of getting diseases like epilepsy later on”, he added.
The Epilepsy Society of Ghana is retraining nurses and medical assistants in six districts in the country to help control the brain condition.
Dr. Ohene says a lot of progress has been made in the treatment, cure or control of epilepsy.
Patients, he says would “need to take it every day even though [they] may not have the attacks everyday”, Dr. Sammy Ohene stressed.
He said although there is surgery available in specialized centres where neurosurgeons can cure the condition completely, such advanced treatment is not available in Ghana.
Nonetheless, “epilepsy is common enough that any doctor should be able to treat it…most people can treat epilepsy once they have been taught”, he revealed.
The President of the Epilepsy Society of Ghana dismissed perception that the brain condition is demonic.
“There is absolutely no evidence that this is a demonic thing. It is a condition that arises from the brain. We can show it, we can prove it” he insisted.
The doctor lamented that “false beliefs” like associating the condition with the spiritual realm are hampering the early treatment of epilepsy.
In Ghana, families want their children not to marry into families with a history of epilepsy. Dr. Sammy Ohene also dismissed the perception that epilepsy is often inherited.
"It is not a direct inheritance thing. There is no evidence that if you have epilepsy your child will have epilepsy...it is just that a small proportion of people who have epilepsy have genes that pre-dispose them to it even then it doesn't mean that they will get it," he explained.
It is perfectly safe to marry a person having the brain condition, he allayed fears. An epileptic person can go on to have a fulfilling life.
"Julius Ceasar had epilepsy. There are many great and famous people who had epilepsy," he said