Women’s Issues and Epilepsy: A Look at Health Care Practitioners
AbstractPrevious reports from developed countries indicated that health care professionals had poor knowledge of women’s issues and epilepsy and the women with epilepsy may not be adequately informed about their illness. Health care professionals that attended the 18th Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences in Yaounde, Cameroun were asked to complete the knowledge of women issues and epilepsy (KOWIE) II questionnaire. A total
of 55 health care professionals participated in the survey. 67.3% were males while 32.7% were females. The mean age of the respondents was 39.35 (+12.07) years. About thirty six percent of the respondents were neurologists, 27.3% were in Internal Medicine while the rest comprised of general practitioners, pediatric neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroscience nurses and neurophysiologists. There was poor knowledge of the effect of sex hormones on seizure threshold during menstrual cycles while only one fourth of the respondents were aware of the high incidence of sexual dysfunctions in women with epilepsy. About half of the respondents were aware of the deleterious effect of antiepileptic drugs on bone health. Their knowledge was better on pregnancy related issues such as the importance of administration of vitamin K to neonates of women with epilepsy to prevent haemorhagic disease of the newborn, the need for women with epilepsy to continue anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy. More than half of the respondents were aware that the best antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy is the one that is most appropriate for the patients seizure type or syndrome. However there was no relationship between the number of years in practice or the number of patients seen per month by the respondents and the survey accuracy score. But the specialty of the respondents influenced the survey score as the paediatric and adult neurologists had the highest survey accuracy score. This study showed that the paediatric and adult neurologists were better informed on women’s issues and epilepsy than other clinical neuroscientists.