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Ann Afr Med. 2011 Jul-Sep;10(3):238-42. doi: 10.4103/1596-3519.84706.

Knowledge and attitudes of parents toward children with epilepsy.

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Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.



The attitude towards people with epilepsy is influenced by the level of their knowledge about the condition. Parents usually do not accept the diagnosis of epilepsy in their children easily. This study was to assess 280 parents' knowledge and their attitude toward children suffering from epilepsy by answering a questionnaire.


To evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of parents toward children with epilepsy.


This was a prospective study in a tertiary hospital. All parents who had children suffering from epilepsy seen from April 1st 2009 to March 31st 2010 were recruited. Questionnaires were administered to all the parents who attended the neurology clinic with their children diagnosed of epilepsy.


A total of 914 neurological patients were seen and treated during the study period. Of these, 280 parents whose children suffered from epilepsy participated in the study. Almost all, 267 (95.36%) parents had heard about epilepsy prior to presentation in the clinic. Some parents thought that epilepsy was contagious and linked with evil spirit/demonic attack. A few of them rejected the word epilepsy and did not think that an epileptic child could achieve much in life. The knowledge about the clinical characteristics and initial procedures to attend a person during a seizure were unscientific.


We concluded that more than 90% of parents and caregivers know about epileptic seizures. However, there is a need to disseminate more information to the public about its causes, clinical manifestation, approach to managing a convulsing child, and its outcome. In addition, periodic medical campaigns aimed at educating the public about epilepsy through the media could go a long way in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with this disorder.

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