Awareness and Knowledge on Epilepsy Among Undergraduate Medical Students in Pakistan
Background: Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder which affects millions of people throughout the world. However, it has been discovered that there is a great degree of ignorance regarding the science of epilepsy among the general masses as well as the populace of medical students. Studies have been conducted whose results have shown that, there has been fabrication regarding the clinical presentation & treatment of epilepsy among the common man. Numerous appear to link epilepsy to evil spirits and possession that can be healed by spiritual treatments by certain specialists given the designations of ‘demonologists’,’ paranormal investigators’ or ‘mystics’. In such circumstances, medical students can prove to be a major source to educate the society at large. Therefore, it is crucial that their knowledge & attitude towards epilepsy is accurate and thus, must be evaluated at an early stage in their medical career, so that these future physicians may play a pivotal role in the public awareness of epilepsy.
Method: This study was conducted in Pakistan, at a Government sector medical college, namely, Karachi Medical and Dental College. This is a cross-sectional study. Data was collected between October to December of the year 2014. 270 medical students were given the KAP (knowledge, attitude & practice) form of epilepsy to fill out. The software used to interpret and tabulate the results was SPSS v.16 for Windows. The chi-square test was employed to determine the proportion of knowledge of epilepsy among medical students. The p-value calculated was equal to 0.05.
Findings: In this study, 270 medical students were recruited, of which 90 were males (33.3%) where as 180 were females (66.6%). The ages of the student participants were within the range of 18 to 24 years. The analysis of our study demonstrates that: 85.1% of the medical students consider epilepsy to be a neurological disorder; 6.66% believe epilepsy is an infectious disease; 4.44% believe it to be a hereditary disease, whereas, 3.7% of the students reckon it is a psychiatric illness. Generalized tonic clonic seizures was deemed to be the most common form of epilepsy (25.5%) with complex partial seizures being the least common form(1.85%) , as well as relatively unknown by the students.
It was discovered through this study that, students were much less acquainted with the knowledge regarding the treatment of the disorder: multiple drug therapy was considered as the treatment by 56.66% of the students, spiritual treatment by 3.7%, spiritual treatment with medication by 20%, surgical treatment by 17.4% & 2.22% deemed epilepsy as a self limiting disease.
Conclusion: It has been observed with this survey that the medical students of Pakistan are well aware of the knowledge of epilepsy and it being a medical condition. However, the students need to be educated early on in their training to be physicians, about certain aspects and details of the neurological disorder, for instance, the appropriate treatment of epilepsy, where their knowledge is lacking.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access and Benefits of Publishing Open Access).