GladAfrica Foundation, in partnership with Epilepsy SA and the University of Venda, has launched an initiative to de-stigmatise epilepsy in rural communities. The purpose of the Epilepsy study is to assess the prevalence of epilepsy within rural communities.

According to Epilepsy SA, Epilepsy affects one out of 100 people in South Africa; which translates into about 500 000 people and makes it one of the most common neurological diseases. Despite this, the condition is often surrounded by prejudice and myth, especially in rural communities where people with this condition are often shunned and thought to be “possessed.”

LISTEN TO NOEL MASHABA’S INTERVIEW ON SAFM’S LIFE HAPPENS ABOUT THE EPILEPSY STUDY:

Co-Chairperson of GladAfrica Foundation, Noel Mashaba who is also epileptic, says the initiative is for assessing the prevalence of epilepsy in rural communities and the needs of those affected, along with developing necessary intervention programmes.

“The initiative is to assess the prevalence of epilepsy within the rural communities and to come up with mitigating factors or suggested solutions into those affected families or affected people with epilepsy. When I remember myself, I lived believing 100% that I will never make it in life because of epilepsy so that’s how bad it is.”

Mashaba says there isn’t enough education on epilepsy.

“There’s definitely not enough education and that’s the whole intention of the study. We can do with more information, whichever information we can get. We don’t want another pupil to fall into the same situation as what happened at Ferndale High School.”

WATCH VIDEO BELOW FOR MORE ON MASHABA’S INTERVIEW ON MORNING LIVE ABOUT EPILEPSY, WATCH VIDEO BELOW: