Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding epilepsy in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Kate Brizzi, Sonam Deki, Lhab Tshering, Sarah J. Clark, Damber K. Nirola, Bryan Patenaude, Erica D. McKenzie, Hannah C. McLane, Sydney S. Casha, Chencho Dorji, Farrah J. Mateena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of epilepsy among healthcare workers (HCWs) and people with epilepsy (PWE) living in Bhutan. Methods: A survey with similar questions was distributed to HCWs and PWE (2014-2015). Responses were compared between the two groups. A Stigma Scale in Epilepsy Score was tested for an independent association with patient age, sex, years of education and presence of seizure freedom using regression models. Results: PWE (n=177), when compared to HCWs (n=75), were more likely to believe that epilepsy is contagious; epilepsy results from karma or past actions; PWE need help in school; and people with epilepsy have spiritual powers (p < 0.05 for each comparison). Among people with epilepsy, a higher stigma score was independently associated with lower educational attainment (p=0.006) and presence of a seizure in the prior year (p=0.013), but not age, sex or anti-epileptic drug side effects. Conclusions: While knowledge of epilepsy was overall fairly high, PWE more often held certain stigmatizing beliefs, including theories of contagion and a relationship between seizures and spiritual powers. Higher educational level and seizure freedom were associated with lower stigma, underscoring their importance in stigma reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-291
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Health
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Bhutan
  • Epilepsy
  • Neurology
  • Social stigma
  • Traditional medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Brizzi, K., Deki, S., Tshering, L., Clark, S. J., Nirola, D. K., Patenaude, B., McKenzie, E. D., McLane, H. C., Casha, S. S., Dorji, C., & Mateena, F. J. (2016). Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding epilepsy in the Kingdom of Bhutan. International Health, 8(4), 286-291. https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihw017