Perceptions of epilepsy among first-year medical students at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda
Berrett B., Sawyer
Kimuli C., Ivan
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Epilepsy is associated with stigma throughout the world, which leads to poor treatment of people with epilepsy (PWE). In Uganda, there are more than 75,000 PWE and a large treatment gap. This study evaluated the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding epilepsy among first-year medical students at Mulago Hospital. A 22-question survey was developed based on the previous studies of Birbeck et al.'s regarding the stigma of epilepsy in Zambia. This was administered to first-year medical students (96 respondents) at Mulago Hospital in Uganda. More than 80% said that they would not allow their children to marry PWE. Most respondents believed that epilepsy was a mental illness, and many believed that PWE cannot have normal intelligence. Students reported that there was a negative perception and negative treatment of PWE in the community. Some students believed that epilepsy was caused by supernatural causes and was contagious. These misperceptions must be identified and corrected among medical students and other healthcare providers to allow for fair treatment of PWE; this should be incorporated into medical school curriculums in Uganda.
- Medical and Health Sciences