Pan African Medical Journal

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Are the children with epilepsy treated traditionally a disadvantaged group? A pilot study

Thierry Matonda Ma Nzuzi, Gilbert Mananga Lelo, Magloire Mpembi Nkosi, Joule Madinga, Constantin Kabwe Kola, Vivi Maketa, Pascal Lutumba, Katja Polman, Marleen Boelaert, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Samuel Mampunza Ma Miezi


Introduction: in sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of persons with epilepsy who seek traditional treatment is estimated at 80%. Despite that children are the firsts concerned by epilepsy, the characteristics and particularities of the children with epilepsy (CWE) who resort to traditional treatment are not known. The aim of this pilot study was to identify clinical particularities of the CWE who resort to traditional treatment. Methods: CWE between 6 to 17 years were included in the study based on their histories of previous antiepileptic treatments. The CWE previously treated by traditional healers were compared to others CWE. Results: data from 140 CWE whose previous treatments had been documented were selected. The duration of epilepsy (7 [3.0-9.8] years versus 3 [1.0-7.0] years, p=0.013) was higher for the CWE traditionally treated compared to the CWE without any antiepileptic treatment. The seizure frequency (8.7 [1.5-91.3]/month versus 1 [3-30.4]/month, p=0.036) was higher for the CWE traditionally treated compared to the CWE without any antiepileptic treatment, but the p-value was under the Bonferroni correction (p=0.017). There was no differences between the CWE traditionally treated and the CWE previously treated with antiepileptic drugs. Conclusion: compared to others, the CWE who resort to traditional medicine spend much time before consulting health facilities and could have a more serious epilepsy. We have discussed on factors that could explain these differences.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;23
AJOL African Journals Online