Presentation of the “Strategy and plan of action on epilepsy” at PAHO/WHO Executive Committee meeting

Washington DC, June 20, 2011. For the first time, the Pan American Health Organization Executive Committee specifically addressed the issue of epilepsy as such. The presentation of the Strategy and plan of action on epilepsy undoubtedly marks a major milestone for PAHO/WHO, for the Americas and for all those working in this field.

The document was collectively prepared by a team of more than thirty mental health experts of the Region, with the active support and participation of the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE), the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the World Health Organization in Geneva. Consultations were also conducted in several countries with the cooperation of the health ministries and other national actors.

Epilepsy has a particular relevance in terms of morbidity, disability and death and there is a stigma surrounding people with this disorder that is directly related to discrimination and violation of their human rights. However, there is scientific evidence that simple and low cost interventions, especially at primary health care, can be very effective in controlling it and in improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy.

The document was favorably appreciated and it was unanimously adopted by all countries.

The representatives of the United States, Mexico and Peru enriched the debate with their contributions, which will be included in the final version.