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.
- Social stigma
- Traditional medicine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health