Epilepsy treatment in sub-Saharan Africa: closing the gap

Afr Health Sci. 2012 Jun;12(2):186-92. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v12i2.17.


According to World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of epilepsy is highest in low- and lower middle-income countries, which include over eighty percent of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of people with epilepsy are not receiving appropriate care. In sub-Saharan Africa, shortages of trained health workers, limited diagnostic equipment, inadequate anti-epileptic drug supplies, cultural beliefs, and social stigma contribute to the large treatment gap for epilepsy. The number of people with epilepsy, particularly children, will continue to rise as a result of projected epidemiologic and demographic changes. This paper examines the state of epilepsy care and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa and discusses priorities and approaches to scale up access to medications and services for people with epilepsy.

Keywords: Africa; anti-epileptic; epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Anticonvulsants / economics
  • Anticonvulsants / supply & distribution
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*


  • Anticonvulsants