Epilepsy is among the three most frequently encountered neurological disorders in primary health care settings in 20 of the 23 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region. An estimated 4.7 million people with epilepsy live in this Region. Although epilepsy is a largely treatable brain disorder and relatively cheap medication is available, between 60% and 98% of patients in developing countries receive no treatment.
In response to this huge gap, the Global Campaign against Epilepsy was launched in 1997 as a joint initiative of WHO, the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy. Under the auspices of the global campaign, the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean specifically formulated a declaration calling upon countries to take strong actions.
Additionally, the WHO mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) and regional mental health and substance abuse strategy, has included epilepsy among the disorders to be prioritized for inclusion in the primary health care package of services for mental health.