International League Against Epilepsy
Your Excellences, Honorable Ministers, Ambassadors, Delegates !
Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder globally, affecting over 50 million people worldwide. Because of the rising life expectancy worldwide and the increasing proportion of people surviving epilepsy-provoking insults, such as birth injury, head trauma, brain infection and stroke, the number of people with epilepsy is expected to increase further.
People with epilepsy (PWE) often have one or more coexisting medical or psychiatric conditions, which are associated with poor health outcomes, such as increased health care needs, decreased quality of life, and higher mortality
Health care for PWE involves providing medical care and social services to decrease morbidity, mortality, and to improve psychosocial outcomes. Given the burden of epilepsy on people living with the disease and their families, the challenges facing governments to provide universal health coverage (UHC) are substantial. Access to care for PWE varies considerably across and within countries resulting in a gap in UHC and thus, unmet needs in all countries, but particularly in LMICs.
Policy-makers need to ensure that there are sufficient population and health care system data for monitoring epilepsy care, appropriate training for providers, guidelines for quality care, and adequate resources to ensure universal health coverage.
PWE often encounter barriers in achieving their full potential due to unmet needs in the areas of civil rights, education, employment, residential and community services, and access to appropriate and affordable health care.
A broad and multisectoral public health approach is needed to improve the care and quality of life of people with epilepsy.
The ILAE has a long-term commitment to collaborate with WHO and Member States for the improvement of care for people with epilepsy. We wish to express our continued interest in working with the WHO in the preparation in the upcoming HLM on UHC.