Treatment for epilepsy arrives in Cambodia

Imagine living with epilepsy and not having access to medicine to manage the powerful seizures. That is the situation of many Cambodian children who suffer with the syndrome.

Thankfully, a team associated with Servants of Asia’s Urban Poor/TASK from British Columbia travelled to Cambodia carrying anticonvulsant medicine from HPIC, donated by Canadian pharmaceutical company Novartis.

“This donation was particularly appreciated,” wrote Peter Schopfer, organizer of the trip, in a report to HPIC. “More than once, children have had to go without medication for short periods of time because none was available anywhere in the country. There is also some question as to the quality of the anticonvulsant medication manufactured in Asia.”

Schopfer reported that in addition to providing treatment, his organization also seeks to address the social stigma associated with the disease. “The Little Conquerors program helps re-establish these children as active members of their families and communities. It also trains parents and caregivers to carry on physiotherapy at home.”

According to Schopfer, this donation will go a long way in helping children with epilepsy lead a happier and more normal life. “We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the donation,” the report concluded.

The Cambodian children who benefitted from the donation come from very poor families. “This is a worthy cause,” reports Dr. Ron Lowe, who supported the mission. He has travelled to Cambodia previously and is committed to helping this organization. “The drugs go directly to those who need them.”

There are about 75-100 children with epilepsy that are cared for by Servants of Asia’s Urban Poor/TASK. The medicine kept them free of seizures for several months. “A child with epilepsy can die from a seizure or not develop to his full potential,” Dr. Lowe said of the difference the medication makes.

Servants of Asia’s Urban Poor/TASK is an organization that seeks to serve the most destitute. It focuses on providing health services using local staff and volunteers whenever possible. It goes to where the needs are greatest and operates as holistically as possible on the principles of community and simplicity.