Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of epilepsy among secondary school teachers in Osogbo South-West Nigeria: A community based study
Background: The attitudes toward people with epilepsy are influenced by the degree of knowledge of the condition. The social problems encountered by school children with epilepsy as a result of negative attitude and beliefs are quite enormous.
Objectives The study therefore looked at the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of teachers, who see a lot of epileptics, relate to them on a daily basis and have influence on them.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey, using a self-administered questionnaire obtained from the author of a similar study in the United States, was carried out among 269 school teachers randomly selected from various secondary schools in Osogbo, the Osun State capital in South-West Nigeria. The questionnaire included the scale of attitudes toward persons with epilepsy and knowledge about epilepsy as well as demographic and teaching experience survey among others.
Results Despite the high level of education of the teachers ranging from Masters Degree to National Certificate in Education, there were significant deficits in terms of general knowledge about epilepsy (70% of the respondents reported their general knowledge about epilepsy in the lower half of the scale). There was also poor knowledge of the first aids measures in the classrooms. Below one-third (29.2%) felt it was contagious and 40% of respondents reported that sufferers should not be
kept in regular classes. However, their attitudes toward epilepsy were generally positive.
Conclusions and Recommendations: We concluded that teachers need to have health education courses on common disease conditions such as epilepsy that are prevalent in school age; this might help to reduce the prejudice and increase the acceptance of epileptic individuals in the classrooms. Also, generally public health campaigns should be encouraged in this field.
Key words: Attitudes and school teachers, epilepsy, knowledge