Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 237-245

Awareness, attitude, and understanding toward epilepsy among workers in a State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri, Northeastern Nigeria

1 Department of Mental Health, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria
2 Department of Mental Health, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mshelia Anthony Ali
Department of Mental Health, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, PMB 1322, Baga Road, Federal Low-Cost, Maiduguri, Borno State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aam.aam_61_19

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Background: Epilepsy is a common presentation at clinics in Psychiatric Hospitals, Teaching Hospitals, and general practice. In developing countries and Africa especially, awareness, attitude, and understanding are generally poor. People still believe in spirits as the cause of epilepsy. Objectives: The objectives were to assess the awareness; attitude and knowledge of Hospital workers in general practice concerning epilepsy. Methodology: The respondents were workers of all cadres who were working at a State Specialist Hospital and the study used a survey method proposed by Caveness and Gallup, with modifications and adaptations on the self-administered questionnaire. Results: One hundred and forty-four staffs of State Specialist Hospital completed the questionnaire containing items addressing demographics, awareness, attitude, and knowledge. Of these respondents, 89 were males and 55 were females. The mean age was 34.34 years. 96.5% heard of the disease, 77.8% knew someone with the disease, 64.6% will not object to their children playing with someone with epilepsy and 37.5% will not allow a relative to marry someone with epilepsy. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the respondents said; they will not employ such patients, and that patients with epilepsy should not be employed with others. Knowledge towards epilepsy was good, where 71.5% felt it was caused by a brain disorder. Conclusion: We found out that awareness and knowledge of epilepsy among Hospital staff were generally good. However, the attitude of healthcare workers had reservations towards patients with epilepsy (PWE) either working for them or working with other people. This attitude arose from deeply ingrained cultural misconceptions acquired over time. Thus, there is a need for consistent hospital staff education, aimed at allaying fears, mistrust as well as to lessen the stigma towards epileptics.

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