Living with epilepsy is difficult for anyone. But for people in Sierra Leone suffering from epileptic seizures, they face stigma and most lack the resources needed to pay for antiepileptic treatment. Some seek out traditional healing solutions that are ineffective and most families struggle with caring for their family members.
Sister Philomena Joseph and the staff at Loreto Health Services in Makeni, Sierra Leone have long been at the forefront in Sierra Leone in educating and treating patients for epilepsy, not only at their main clinic in Makeni, but throughout the country at four outreach centers. They bring awareness to thousands in Sierra Leone that epilepsy is treatable and that one can live a productive life with proper medication.
is treatable and that one can live a productive life with proper medication.
“The majority of our patients are poor and illiterate, living in difficult parts of the country. Even to go to a nearby clinic is not easy,” noted Sister Philomena.
Their epilepsy patient load increases each year and in 2018 grew by 5%. Of the cases that must be monitored 24% are at their outreach centers. Caring and monitoring nearly 4,000 epilepsy cases and the travel to remote communities is challenging but Sister Philomena knows that the patients “depend on us” and they do this for the “love of the suffering humanity.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of people living with epilepsy could live seizure-free if properly diagnosed and treated. By visiting schools, churches, mosques, and villages the staff at Loreto Health Services add to their workload but are gratified knowing they can improve the quality of life for epilepsy patients.
On this Epilepsy Awareness Day, we would like to recognize the exceptional work of our partner, Loreto Health Services. If you would like to support their efforts click the button below to donate to HealeyIRF.