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Putting the spotlight on students with epilepsy

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    People with epilepsy can face stigmatization due to misunderstandings about the condition. UCB is helping young people in China to learn more about epilepsy through interactive activities.

    As part of a large-scale disease awareness campaign to mark 2017 International Epilepsy Caring Day (28 June), a new Epilepsy Care in Schools program was launched at the primary school affiliated to Shanghai’s East China University of Science and Technology. The initiative was hosted by the China Association Against Epilepsy (CAAE) and the Shanghai School Health Care Association with the support of UCB.

    The 100 participating students had the opportunity to learn about epilepsy through interactive activities including games, cartoons and quizzes. The organizers aimed to promote awareness of epilepsy in order to eliminate discrimination, and create a sound learning and growth environment to support students with epilepsy.

    Reducing stigma
    Addressing epilepsy awareness is a major public health issue in China – and globally. In fact, China was one of the proponents of a 2015 World Health Assembly resolution which called for improved public education on epilepsy and efforts to address misperceptions, stigmatization and discrimination.

    Speaking at the Epilepsy Care in Schools event in Shanghai last week, Hong Zhen, President of the CAAE said children who suffer a seizure are more likely to miss school and suffer social exclusion.

    Cong Haiying, vice director of the Shanghai School Health Care Association, said parents also have a role to play in informing teachers about epilepsy. Parents of children who do not have epilepsy should encourage a more open-minded approach to those affected by the condition.

    Building partnership and a better future
    While the task of changing public perceptions of epilepsy in China is great, much work has been done since the first International Epilepsy Caring Day ten years ago. For its part, the CAAE has worked with hospitals, schools, parents and children to support equal access to educational opportunities for young people with epilepsy.

    More than 9 million people in China are living with epilepsy and the numbers are rising. Around 400,000 new cases are recorded every year. UCB is committed to playing an active role in enhancing epilepsy care in China through our partnership with Project Hope.

    By complementing this with support for International Epilepsy Day, including awareness-raising initiatives for students, we aim to build a better future for people with epilepsy in China.

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