Epilepsy in Laos: knowledge, attitudes, and practices in the community

Type Journal Article - Epilepsy & Behavior
Title Epilepsy in Laos: knowledge, attitudes, and practices in the community
Volume 10
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 565-570
URL http://www.ifmt.auf.org/IMG/pdf/Epil.KAP.Laos-Epilepsy_behaviour.2007.pdf
We evaluated beliefs about, attitudes toward, and stigma associated with epilepsy in four districts of central Laos.
For this study, 83 people with epilepsy, 83 family members, and 166 matched villagers in Vientiane Province were interviewed.
From patients to families to villagers, there existed a significantly increasing gradient of misbeliefs. Dubbed locally as “mad pig disease,” epilepsy was viewed as having a supernatural origin by 25–42% of respondents, a life-threatening disease by 60%, a disease transmissible by consumption of pork meat by 10–21%, and a disease transmissible by contact with patients’ saliva by 14.5% of patients and 44% of villagers (P < 0.01). Stigma was high. People thought that they should avoid contact or sharing meals with patients (15% of patients, 62% of family members, P < 0.001), and that persons with epilepsy should not get a job, get married (29 and 42%, P < 0.016), or raise children (33–42%).
Wrong beliefs may lead to stigma and hamper access to or compliance with modern epilepsy treatment. In traditional countries, education is the cornerstone of epilepsy management.

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