Knowledge about and attitude towards epilepsy among Menit Community, Southwest Ethiopia
Background: Nearly 80% of the people with epilepsy are found in developing countries, where epilepsy remains a major public health problem, not only because of its health implications but also for its social, cultural, psychological and economic effects. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge and attitude of Menit community in Benchi-Maji Zone as regards epilepsy.
Methods: The study was conducted in Menit Goldia Province, one of the provinces of Bench-Maji Zone. Community based descriptive cross-sectional study was employed. Households were selected by using systematic sampling technique. Data was collected through pretested interviewer administered questionnaire. Data was cleaned, coded and entered in to EPI data version 3.1. The data was cleaned and transported into SPSS for analysis.
Results: Among the study participants, 808(97.1%) ever heard about epilepsy, 85.3% reported that epilepsy is a mental disease where as 40.6%, 49% and 49.4% respectively believed that it is hereditary, contagious, and God’s curse. Among the respondents, 252(30%) think that epileptics should be isolated from the community, 387(46.1%) and 336(40%) do not want to shake hands with epileptics and keep their children away from epileptic patients respectively. In this study, 85.6% and86.8% of the respondents were not knowledgeable about and had negative attitude towards epilepsy respectively. Ethnicity and educational status were significantly associated with knowledge and attitude. The FGD participants noted that the disease is God’s curse, and they lacked knowledge about the cause of epilepsy.
Conclusion: The study participants’ level of knowledge about and attitude towards epilepsy was not satisfactory. Thus, it needs attention from concerned bodies.
Keywords: Epilepsy, Knowledge, Attitude, Ethiopia