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Health promotion
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Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disease and affects people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy; nearly 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries and do not receive the treatment they need and are at increased risk of premature death and a life of stigma and discrimination.

Epilepsy: a public health imperative is the first global report on epilepsy summarizing the available evidence on the burden of epilepsy and the public health response required at global, regional and national levels.

This report is a call for sustained and coordinated action to ensure that every person with epilepsy has access to the care and treatment they need, and the opportunity to live free from stigma and discrimination in all parts of the world. It is time to highlight epilepsy as a public health imperative, to strongly encourage investment in reducing its burden, and to advocate for actions to address gaps in epilepsy knowledge, care and research.

WHO is working with ministries of health and partners to improve access to treatment for epilepsy. The report is produced by WHO in collaboration with the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE).

Non-communicable diseases (e.g. cancer, diabetes, stroke)
Middle East
North America
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
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Thank you for sharing this important new resource. Action to make epilepsy a public health priority would alleviate much unnecessary suffering and harm in low- and middle-income countries. Epilepsy is highly treatable--medication alone controls seizures in about 70% of patients, helping them gain access to education, employment and social acceptance. Controlling seizures demonstrates to communities that epilepsy is a medical condition, dispelling the many myths of its origins. All of this benefit is available at a cost as low as $5 per year.

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