Epilepsy affects 1% of Qatar’s population; about 3,000 children being treated at HMC
About 1% of Qatar’s population is affected by epilepsy – a medical condition that affects the nervous system, causing the affected person to have recurring seizures, according to figures by Hamad Medical Corportaion (HMC).
In Qatar, most cases of epilepsy have unknown causes or are due to a brain injury, usually due to a road traffic accident or a fall. There are also cases of epilepsy linked to premature birth, complications during pregnancy and infections. Inherited epilepsy is very rare.
“With proper medical care and certain precautions to reduce health risks, people with epilepsy should be able to live healthy, social and productive lives. Their condition should not prevent them from doing everyday activities such as traveling, working, and playing sports, of course with proper guidance and follow-up by from their doctors,” said Dr. Hassan Al Hail, Senior Consultant Neurologist at HMC.
Dr. Al Hail highlighted the importance of community support in improving the quality of life for people living with epilepsy and in encouraging others who may have undiagnosed epilepsy to come forward and get the proper medical treatment they need without fear of social stigma. He warned against resorting to non-medical remedies, emphasizing that without timely, professional medical treatment, seizures can worsen leading to a coma or death.
Dr. Khalid Ibrahim, Senior Consultant Pediatric Neurologist and Head of the Pediatric Neurology Division at HGH’s Department of Pediatrics said: “A very important aspect of the management of epilepsy is to manage the seizures or convulsions when they happen. Seizures are unpredictable; they can happen all of a sudden, and can happen anywhere.”
He highlighted that because children spend a significant amount of time in school or in nurseries, seizures can also happen whilst they are there.
“School nurses are trained and prepared to handle this, but we need to make sure that they have the proper knowledge and are approaching the child in the right way.”
Dr. Ibrahim added that there are about 3,000 children with epilepsy who are being cared for by HMC’s Pediatric Neurology Service, which is the only center in Qatar providing tertiary care for children with epilepsy. With the help of specially trained nurse educators, the clinic educates parents by helping them cope with their child’s condition. It also assists parents and children to better integrate into their school and community.
[Photo courtesy: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier via Flickr]