Lack of access to care alarming

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BANGALORE: For a population of 10 million epileptics, there are only 1,000 neurologists in India. While there is no dearth of quality treatment for this problem, it’s is the poor access to care that’s alarming.

These were some issues debated at the three-day colloquium on Drug Resistant Epilepsy which kicked off at Nimhans on Friday. “New York City alone produces more neurologists than India and there are around 20,000 neurologists in the US. There is world-class treatment available in India, but the problem is with accessibility,” said Dr Sanjay P Singh, professor and chairman, Creighton University, US.

Experts from the US, Canada, UK, Japan and India, etc talked about practical inputs on how to manage drug-resistant epilepsy and to introduce new inventions and research in the field.

There’s also an awareness programme on Saturday for patients and their families and it’ll include a play and talks. “There’s still a stigma attached to epilepsy in India. Through this programme, we hope to remove it,” he said.

Dr P Satishchandra, director, Nimhans, spoke about the Indian perspective of epilepsy: “There is a treatment gap and we should work towards narrowing it. Moreover, there’s a lack of awareness about the disease and that’s a major issue. Although organizations like Indian Epilepsy Association and Indian Epilepsy Society are doing great service, a lot needs to be done,” he said. He also highlighted research being done in the field which includes epilepsy in women and the genetics of epilepsy.

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