Community-based epilepsy awareness and training program in rural Bolivia

According to the WHO guidelines, in low- and middle-income countries, epilepsy with convulsive seizures should be diagnosed at primary-care level by trained non-specialist health care providers. Specific training programs in these areas represent a core action to reduce the treatment gap. Training programs toward nurses, community health workers and GPs working in the rural communities of the Chaco region, Bolivia, as well as awareness campaigns, represented the main aims of this latter project, that is almost completed. Furthermore, in order to facilitate the detection of people with convulsive seizures by trained health-care providers, specific screening tools (questionnaire and smartphone app) have been developed and validated. Feasibility of teleconsultation to confirm epilepsy diagnosis in this area was also evaluated. Thanks to a long-lasting collaboration with the local authorities, the research activities carried out by our group have increased the level of knowledge and awareness about epilepsy in this area leading to a significant reduction of the treatment gap over the time.

Start date: 15 June 2018 | Proposed end date: 15 March 2023
Region: Latin America
Language: Spanish
Lead institution: Convenio de Salud, Camiri
Location: Gran Chaco Region, Cordillera Province, Department of Santa Cruz del la Sierra, Bolivia
Principal investigator / organizer: Alessandra Nicoletti
Patient age: All ages
Type of project: Community education, Research, Stigma, Healthcare professional education
Funding sources: Government, Pharmaceutical
Project needs: Equipment, Funding, Medication
Related publications (PMID): 36461651, 36288016, 33735816, 33348193, 32315969, 31168502, 30634158, 30364141, 29908385, 29694941, 26427017

Contact: Alessandra Nicoletti, Department G.F. Ingrassia, Sec. Neurosciences, University of Catania