May 21, 2021

Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Epilepsy Among Libyan People With and Without Epilepsy in a Tertiary Medical Center

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Background: Although patients with epilepsy (PWE) constitute a considerable sector of the population in Benghazi, there is no adequate knowledge about this disease.

Objectives: To assess knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy among Libyan people who live in Benghazi city.

Methods: A cross-sectional prospective hospital-based study was conducted in the year 2020, from June to August. The participants were adults, PWE were included as well as people without epilepsy (NEP). Participants were interviewed through a twelve-item questionnaire related to knowledge which included definition, causes, manifestations, first aids, treatment options, and curability. In addition, attitudes toward epilepsy were tested by questions that include immediate actions when seeing a patient seizing, and whether or not PWE can drive, work, marry, and conceive).

Data analysis: Data were processed by the statistical software (SPSS) version 18.0. Differences between categorical variables were tested by Chi square and P value at 0.05, which has been considered statistically significant.

Results: The total number of the interviewees was 156. The mean age was 43 ± 14 SD years (18-76 years), 105 (67%) were males. Twenty-eight (18%) of the participants were PWE, while the remaining 128 (82%) were NEP. Ninety-nine (64%) and 145 (92%) of the participants answered correctly regarding definition and manifestations of epilepsy, respectively. The participants with Bachelor degree and post graduate level have shown a better understanding of definitions and treatments of epilepsy (P = 0.000). They also had better attitudes toward PWE in terms of their ability to conceive (P = 0.002).PWE had better knowledge about manifestations and first aids of epilepsy compared to NEP, though they did not have differences in attitude compared to NEP. Participants’ knowledge about epilepsy was mainly obtained from friends (41; 26%), patients (40; 26%), and media (37; 24%). A major portion of participants 94 (60%) did not feel satisfactory about their own information about epilepsy.

Conclusion: Knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy were generally satisfactory. Participants with a Bachelors degree or higher level of education had better knowledge and positive attitudes toward PWE. Patients and media are important tools to improve knowledge and attitudes about epilepsy.

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