Updated 17 July 2014

Epilepsy centre gets nod in E Cape

Epilepsy SA has officially recognised the Eastern Cape office as a formal branch of the organisation.

The Epilepsy South Africa organisation has officially recognised the Eastern Cape office in East London as a formal branch.

The organisation was established over 40 years ago and has provided services to South Africans with epilepsy and those affected by the condition.

This recognition follows three years of hard work in the Eastern Cape to introduce the organisation to communities, do needs assessments with people suffering from epilepsy in the Eastern Cape and develop services according to the needs assessed.

Community leaders said they faced the following challenges:

* Lack of proper health care services (especially regarding specialist epilepsy treatment);

* Lack of information and awareness about the condition which is, in many Eastern Cape communities, still viewed as evil spirits or demon possession;

* Challenges regarding access to medication;

* Limited or no nutrition, sanitation and hygiene;

* Severe stigma and discrimination towards people with epilepsy and

* The endemic proportions of epilepsy in rural communities mostly due to tape worm infection that leads to epileptic seizures.


The organisation said it had established support groups at health care centres in Port Elizabeth, East London and Mthatha where direct psycho-social support could be given.

The successful mobile neurological clinics model developed by the South Cape & Karoo Branch of the organisation was replicated in the Eastern Cape and implemented in the rural East London region.

These clinics not only provide clinical care, but also educate both people with epilepsy and their care givers about the many aspects of the condition.

A vegetable garden project was piloted in the village of Mhlabathi, just south of Mthatha, to initiate community participation in the development of nutritional food that has a vast influence on the effectiveness of medication.

The pilot project was joined with entrepreneurial development training to give people the opportunity to become self-sustainable and less dependent.

Further awareness talks and epilepsy training was established, especially at schools where both children with and without epilepsy are educated about the condition to promote more inclusive education, but also acceptance of one another regardless of personal challenges.

The sustainability of this Branch also depends on the support of the Eastern Cape community.

Should anyone wish to contact the Eastern Cape branch, Mr Madlala at 078 362 1078 could be contacted, or the national office at 021 595 4900.

Epilepsy South Africa is a registered NGO working in the disability sector of South Africa. It is a level 4 BEE contributor and is registered with SARS for section 18a tax receipts. 

Picture: EEC brainwaves from Shutterstock


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