Health Minister John Boyce has challenged the Epilepsy Society of the Caribbean to present evidence and arguments which would justify epilepsy being considered for placement on the regional non-communicable disease agenda.
Speaking at the opening of the 5th North American Regional Caribbean Congress on Epilepsy at the Accra Beach Hotel today, Mr. Boyce said the Ministry of Health was committed to supporting the provision of essential treatments for epilepsy that had been shown to be effective and affordable.
He said that at least one person with a non-febrile seizure was seen at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital every day.
The Health Minister told the audience that treatments for epilepsy were included with other chronic conditions such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes and cancer in the national drug formulary, with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital spending more than $150, 000 annually to provide a range of anti-epileptic drugs to its outpatient population.
He noted that electroencephalograms (EEGs), brain imaging and access to neurologists were core to the provision of appropriate investigation, and management of persons with epilepsy.
???I am happy to note that in a paper published in 2015 which reviewed the care provided in the southern Caribbean, Barbados was noted to have short waiting time for EEGs and brain imaging in the publicly funded facilities, and that specialist neurologists were available in both the public and private sectors,??? he said.
Mr. Boyce maintained that the Ministry of Health???s goal was to have all persons with epilepsy live a life with fewer seizures. ???The medical fraternity must assist with this goal by bringing their patients to the forefront of the management of this chronic disease.???
The Minister looked forward to continued partnerships between the Ministry of Health and organisations such as the Epilepsy Society of the Caribbean, the International League Against Epilepsy and the Canadian League Against Epilepsy, as well as relevant government and public health agencies.