1. Epilepsy in Africa: 'My seizures crushed my childhood'

    Mary Goodhart

    The Comb podcast

    Image caption: Lawrence was only diagnosed with epilepsy as an adult

    Lawrence had his first seizure when he was eight. He remembers being in class in Zimbabwe, pretending to be a shopkeeper in a role-play exercise.

    He had just made a mistake and the other children were laughing... The next thing he knew, he was waking up at home.

    No-one understood what had happened, and the local doctor could not help. So when it happened again and again, the family turned to traditional healers for help.

    His childhood became dominated by visits to different ones - which he found scary, and crushed his personality.

    Finally, as an adult, Lawrence's life was changed when a doctor diagnosed him with epilepsy, and he started treatment.

    Epilepsy is one of the most misunderstood conditions in the world.

    It is a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, and most commonly associated with seizures which can be alarming to see.

    Before the condition was properly understood by doctors, people thought that it was caused by evil spirits, and wrongly thought it was contagious.

    Even though it is now understood, the condition is still surrounded by suspicion, myths, and severe stigma which can sometimes be even more difficult for patients to handle than the illness itself.

    Listen to The Comb to hear more about Lawrence's experiences, and from a Nigerian mother bridging the gap between scientific advancements and the lives of ordinary people with epilepsy, after struggling to find help for her son.

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