New Delhi: Ekatwam -- an NGO that seeks to improve the lives of epilepsy patients -- on Tuesday urged the government to frame and implement a national programme to deal with epilepsy.
It said there was a need for a policy akin to the successful anti-polio programme.
Health ministry estimates say India has over 12 million people suffering from epilepsy. The global figure is more than 50 million.
"There is an urgent need to frame and implement a national policy to control and treat this disorder," Adosh Datta, Secretary of Ekatwam, told reporters here.
Speaking on the occasion, Manjari Tripathi, professor of neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, said: "Despite such high prevalence of the neurological disorder in India, the awareness concerning it is quite low.
"A person with epilepsy is just like a person who has headache or asthma, which is episodic too. But the stigma faced by people with epilepsy is huge, impacting marriage, education and jobs," said Tripathi.
According to medical science, 70 percent of the seizures can be controlled with medication. But the treatment gap remains as high as 75 percent in India, especially in rural and remote areas.