We at the Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing are starting the new year with great strides. When we started barely two years ago, we were taking a big leap of faith because we didn’t know how we were going to go about implementing our vision and staying through to our mission.
For a foundation aiming to fight stigma, abuse and ignorance of best and alternative practices to epilepsy treatment and mental wellness, it is a steep feet especially with no known platform, network of partners, available resources be they time, money or human resources.
We refused to sit back and watch people continue to suffer in silence either because they didn’t know better, or couldn’t afford better. We also realised we needed to keep reaching out to the world through our various social media platforms and outreach efforts, and although there was only a trickle in response, we never gave up.
Indeed, with the very limited resources and no funding, we have still been able to carry out several sensitization and advocacy activities, as well as organize 3 successful medical missions to our pilot areas. Our objective with each mission has been to encourage people living with and or affected by epilepsy to get properly diagnosed and get on to treatment, so that they may regain activities of interest to them be it school or other. A fourth one is planned for April this year.
We however realized with each medical mission and mindful of the initial baseline studies carried out, that many more people cannot attend the medical mission and be consulted by the lone neurologist we have so far been able to secure for various reasons. The roads in the pilot area are often impracticable, the cost of movement is high, many can’t afford the cost of the ECG tests and subsequent prescriptions, and of course the stigma and false beliefs are still so rife in the rural settings.
We tailored all of this information and statistics into our abstract paper on the need for epilepsy mobile clinics, which was submitted to the 3rd African Epilepsy Congress, organised jointly by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy organized in Dakar – Senegal in May this year. We were thus pleasantly surprised and yet greatly honoured that this abstract meticulously and aptly put together by our dynamic country director, was accepted. Ms Marie A. Abanga will be representing the foundation at this very important and strategic congress – just the third of its kind in Africa jointly organized by these renowned world bodies, and our hope is that her participation and poster presentation throughout the congress, will open many new doors for the foundation.
Kindly get involved and support our work
The Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing is contributing its mite, via various forms of social media and other projects, but she desperately needs all the support she can get to keep up with such endeavours. We collaborate with other national and international media bodies to spread the word against stigma, but as a barely two year old organization, our outreach is still limited especially due to unavailable human and other resources. Together, we can achieve more.