New Delhi: Epilepsy is much more disabling than acknowledged - it impacts a child`s learning years, a person`s professional and marital life and also gives the patient a sense of insecurity - with the doubt "what if I have a seizure" always persistent, says an expert on the disease.According to Mamta Bhushan Singh, associate professor, department of neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, "Epilepsy impacts all relationships, especially the marital life of a patient.""There is a reluctance of parents to talk of the illness while fixing up the marriage of their child. If a husband comes to know his wife is a person with epilepsy, it is frequent for the woman to be thrown out, irrespective of whether she is mother to his child," Singh said."The sense of shame and insecurity among persons with epilepsy has to be addressed," she said.Singh, who attends to patients in various parts of India as part of the Lifeline Express, the world`s first hospital on a train, said she has come across many cases of children in Delhi`s schools being thrown after having a seizure."The schools tell the child, "Come back when you are cured". This is appalling, and shows lack of awareness," she said, adding that she was planning to visit schools, especially government ones, to create awareness among teachers and staff about the neurological disorder.India has 12-14 million people with epilepsy, or a fifth of the world`s 50-60 million cases.However, the treatment gap in India is huge at 70-90 percent. "This means that out of every 100 patients, 70-90 people are not getting treatment. These are WHO figures," said Singh.
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