CONGO TOWN, Montserrado – Stakeholders in the mental health sector have launched an awareness campaign to reduce the discrimination and stigma against persons with epilepsy.
Health Ministry statistics show that from 45 health facilities in Montserrado and Margibi, there were 8,970 cases of epilepsy reported in 2016.
The campaign has been launched by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and Carter Center. A major part of the awareness campaign was the erection of a billboard in Congo Town, which provided basic information on epilepsy.
Janice Cooper, head of Carter Center’s mental health program in Liberia, said she was pleased to turn over the poster to the commissioner of Congo Town and Ministry of Health.
“I hope that the inscriptions on the billboard will help with the education that epilepsy is not contagious, and people will understand how to keep persons with epilepsy safe when they are experiencing convulsion,” Cooper said.
Barkon Dwah, the mental health lead at WHO, said the organization would continue to support the ministry and its partners, especially the Carter Center in the intervention of mental health.
“It is good to educate the public about the helpful signs of epilepsy,” he said.
Addy Captan, the Congo Town commissioner, applauded the three institutions for erecting the billboard, which she said would help in raising awareness of stigma and discrimination of persons with epilepsy.
“I hope people will learn from the inscriptions about how to care for persons with epilepsy,” she said. “The issue of stigma and discrimination against persons with epilepsy should stop.”
For his part, Ngormbu Jusu Ballah, acting deputy minister for curative services at the Health Ministry, noted that Carter Center and WHO have continued to play a pivotal role in ensuring that mental health services are deliver to the optimum level in the country.
Unfortunately, Ballah said people have not received enough education on the cause and prevention of epilepsy. He said the billboard was “a step forward.”
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah