More than 50 million people have epilepsy; about 80% live in lower- or middle-income countries, where diagnosis and treatment can be difficult or impossible. The percentage of people with epilepsy that is not receiving treatment is known as the treatment gap; in some countries, this gap exceeds 90%.
Seizure control is the primary driver of epilepsy treatment. For many people with epilepsy, however, the seizures themselves are secondary to what comes after: fatigue, memory loss and other issues that dramatically affect their lives.
In retrospect, Pakistan’s effort to reduce the treatment gap can appear painstakingly planned, like the blueprints for a shopping complex or a neighborhood. But the secret of the country’s success is not rooted in elaborate planning. Nor did it rely on generous funding or government support.
At Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland, thousands of families and physicians mix epilepsy education, information, and advocacy with enjoying a day at “the happiest place on earth.”