Epilepsy in Ghana

Study finds the prevalence of epilepsy in Kintampo, Ghana and what factors may be associated with its onset (Ayuurebobi et al., 2015).

What was the context of the research

Epilepsy contributes 1% to the global burden of disease, therefore it is a common neurological disorder, globally. Epilepsy affects 69 million people, 90% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. The goal of this study was to estimate the prevalence of epilepsy and identify risk factors in Ghana.

What were the methods of the research

The study took place in Kintampo, Ghana. The study consisted of 5,000 individuals who reported having seizures during their lifetime. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine their demographics and potential risk factors. Additionally, the severity of their condition was assessed through asking how often they had seizures and how long ago those seizures were.

What did the study find

The average onset of epilepsy was 8 years of age (IQR: 2.8-15 years). The median duration of the seizures was 10.2 years (IQR: 4.7-16.1 years. For children below 18 the risk factors were found to be a family history of seizures, complications during birth, issues after birth, and challenges with feeding, crying, or breathing after birth, and exposure to the tropical disease onchocerca volvulus. Males also had higher rates than females, and the highest prevalence was in Kunsu, Jema and the lowest was in the Kintampo sub-districts. The overall prevalence when adjusted for attrition was 10.1 out of every 1,000.


What were the conclusions of the study/what do they recommend

A lot of the risk factors for epilepsy can be prevented. Educating mothers on how to deal with perinatal and postnatal difficulties can help intervene with the onset of epilepsy. Additionally, strengthening the health care system to decrease the exposure of children to onchocerca volvulus will reduce the risk of children developing epilepsy.


Active Epilepsy, risk factors, sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana


Ayuurebobi, K., Akpalu, B., Ngugi, A., Akpalu, A., Agbokey, F., Adjei, P.,…Owusu-Ageyi, S. (13 May 2015). Prevalence and Risk Factors for Active Convulsive Epilepsy in Kintampo, Ghana. Pan African Medical Journal, 21(29). Doi:10.11604/pamj.2015.21.29.6084.

Michael Arthur