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Safeguarding Maternal Health

D. DREAM Centre Bangui Garden Inside

Improving Epilepsy Treatment for Pregnant Women in Central African Republic

BBF Global Relief has sent a shipment of antiseizure medication to a health clinic the Central African Republic that is treating pregnant women with epilepsy.

It’s estimated that more than 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have epilepsy, a neurological condition that can cause recurring and unprovoked seizures. Anti-seizure medications play a crucial role in managing the condition. According to the World Health Organization, up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could become seizure-free with the appropriate use of antiseizure medication.

But in Africa, over 70% of patients with epilepsy do not have access to treatment.

Of the more than 30 antiseizure medications on the market, only a handful are available in sub-Saharan Africa. All of these medications increase a woman’s risk of giving birth to a child with malformations when taken before or during pregnancy, leaving millions of women with epilepsy with no access to safe treatment.

The International Epilepsy Treatment Guidelines regard Levetiracetam as one of the few safe options for women with epilepsy, but the drug’s high cost has made it widely unavailable in sub-Saharan Africa.

By connecting with its pharma donors, BBF was able to acquire and send 1,300 bottles of Levetiracetam to Clinique DREAM, a healthcare center in Bangui, Central African Republic. The clinic is run by DREAM Sant’Egidio, a health program began as an initiative to treat HIV/AIDS in Mozambique and has since expanded to provide free chronic disease treatment in 10 countries in Africa.  

Bottles of the antiseizure medication Levetiracetam arrive at DREAM Sant’Egidio’s pharmacy in Bangui, Central African Republic.
| Photo courtesy of DREAM Sant’Egidio
Women sit on a bench in the waiting area at DREAM Sant’Egidio’s clinic in Bangui, Central African Republic.
| Photo courtesy of DREAM Sant’Egidio
Clinique DREAM, a healthcare center in Bangui, Central African Republic is operated by DREAM Sant’Egidio, and treats patients with AIDS and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy. | Photo courtesy of DREAM Sant’Egidio.