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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Vanderbilt: Study Seeks to Expand Epilepsy Care Efforts in Africa

The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), with Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), will conduct a randomized clinical trial in three cities in northern Nigeria to determine the efficacy of shifting childhood epilepsy care to epilepsy-trained community health extension workers — a recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Epilepsy is the most common severe neurological disorder among children, most of whom can live normal lives with treatment.

Yet among the world’s children living with epilepsy, about 80 percent reside in low- and middle-income countries and 60-90 percent of them do not receive treatment.

The 60-site cluster study is funded with a five-year $5.9 million federal grant, “Bridging the Childhood Epilepsy Treatment Gap in Africa (BRIDGE),” from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The BRIDGE clinical trial will test a method of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment that has the potential to bring epilepsy care to about half of the world’s children with epilepsy, who currently are without treatment,” said Dr. Edwin Trevathan, BRIDGE principal investigator and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

This first NIH-funded randomized clinical trial of task-shifted epilepsy care will compare outcomes of children with epilepsy who will be diagnosed and treated by more than 120 epilepsy-trained community health workers with routine physician care for children with epilepsy.

The BRIDGE project will also study the implementation of this task-shifted method of epilepsy care, and the economic impact of task-shifted epilepsy care in northern Nigeria.

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