Views of primary and secondary school teachers of childhood epilepsy and asthma
Epilepsy and asthma are 2 common chronic medical conditions that are seen in school-age children. Both are characterized by paroxysmal attacks that require prolonged medication and regular clinic attendance. Since teacher's attitudes and perception of chronic condi t ions affect s s tudent ' s academic performance and adjustment in the class, this study compares teachers' knowledge and attitude to these ailments. Six hundred sel f -admini s tered standardized questionnaires were given to teachers in public schools (primary and secondary) in Ilorin metropolis, the capital of Kwara State. The response rate was 88%. Respondents were 35% males and 65% females with age range of 20 to 67years (mean of 35.±8.9). All the teachers had been educated for 12years, but there health educational knowledge about epilepsy and asthma appear inadequate. However, responses were more in favor of asthma than epilepsy.About 21% and 4% of teachers associated epilepsy and asthma with insanity respectively. Forty-eight percent of participants indicated that epilepsy was contractible through saliva, compared to 13% that held same opinion of asthma (P<0.005). More teachers believe students with epilepsy have sub- mental capacity than asthmatic (44% vs 27%). Children with epilepsy were less encouraged by teachers to play with others than those with asthma. We conclude that the knowledge and attitude of school teachers to epilepsy and asthma differs significantly. Epileptic students are more likely to be affected by this negative attitude and biases more. It is plausible that this along with other factors might be responsible for the abysmal school performances that have been repeatedly reported amongst pupils living with epilepsy compared to other chronic illnesses.
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