India alone has an estimated 15 million or more cases of epilepsy which is no less than a hidden epidemic, said Dr Sarat Chandra, Professor of Neurosurgery, AIIMS Delhi.
He underlined that epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders that affects more than 65 million people worldwide. The lack of awareness further perpetuates the already existing stigma around epilepsy and persons with epilepsy face discrimination and harassment for education, employment and marriage, he added.
As a person diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005, Vinay Jani geared up for 1000 kms endurance cycling on Friday which is he expected to complete within 75 hrs, Dr Manjari Tripathi, Neurology Professor at AIIMS, said, adding that epilepsy is not just a medical problem but a social problem too. She said that despite such a high prevalence, the awareness about epilepsy in India is very low. Due to the lack of awareness, a number of persons diagnosed with epilepsy feel dejected and defeated, she added.
Ekatwam president Dr Tripathi said, "We just don't need people to make emphatic towards persons with epilepsy but also help them to take a step closer towards empowering them to lead a near normal life."
Being not vocal about the epilepsy is one of the important reasons that has contributed in widening the treatment gap of this common disease in India, said Dr Chandra. Around 2 lakhs more victims of epilepsy is being added every year in national data, said he, adding that there is no large scale study of epilepsy in India. He said that we are more or less dependent on the world's data to understand India's position in epilepsy.