Mental health

Treating and defeating epilepsy in Ghana

29 September 2015 - The World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ghana, has been working to address Ghana’s epilepsy treatment gap over the past four years. In a demonstration project, simple, cost-effective interventions have been introduced in five of the 10 regions in Ghana to increase access to treatment for epilepsy. The project has enabled over 4000 people living with epilepsy to gain access to treatment and has reduced the epilepsy treatment gap by a third. Scale-up throughout Ghana is planned.

WHO Information Kit on Epilepsy: What you can do

29 September 2015 - The Global Information Kit on Epilepsy has been developed as part of the WHO Programme on Reducing the Epilepsy Treatment Gap to support implementation of WHA68.20 recommendations. It provides general information about epilepsy, an overview of current pilot projects as examples of what can be achieved, and actions that can be taken by specific stakeholder groups with reference to WHA68.20. The intended audiences for the Global Information Kit on Epilepsy are policymakers, specialist and non-specialist health care providers, people living with epilepsy and their families, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public.

Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly adopts resolution on epilepsy

World Health Assembly plenary with delegates
WHO/V. Martin

At the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in Geneva on 26 May 2015, all 194 Member States of WHO adopted a new global resolution that urged enhancement of ongoing efforts at providing care for people with epilepsy. Co-sponsored by 16 countries, including the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Ghana and Maldives, the resolution highlights the need for governments to formulate, strengthen and implement national policies and legislation to promote and protect the rights of people with epilepsy.

The journey to epilepsy care and treatment in Mozambique

L. Gouveia

In a country where more than a quarter of a million people live with epilepsy, seeking and receiving care and treatment for the condition can be a long and complex journey. Maria Augusta Alves Vilas Boas, a nurse at the Ituculo Health Centre in Monapo district of Mozambique’s Nampula province, has witnessed this journey for over six years.

WHO Programme on Reducing the Epilepsy Treatment Gap

Epilepsy: Treat it. Defeat it.

More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy. To help defeat the disorder, the WHO Programme on Reducing the Epilepsy Treatment Gap seeks to expand the skills of primary care, non-specialist health care providers to diagnose, treat and follow up with people with epilepsy. The Programme engages in health system strengthening, improving the availability of antiepileptic medicines and awareness-raising about epilepsy among different stakeholders such as policymakers, health care providers, people with epilepsy and their families, NGOs, and the general public. The Programme is currently being implemented in 4 countries: Ghana, Mozambique, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

More information on ‘Out of the Shadows’

WHO, in partnership with the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE), launched the "Global Campaign against Epilepsy:Out of the Shadows" in 1997 to improve acceptability, treatment, services and prevention of epilepsy worldwide. Several demonstration projects worldwide were carried out and regional declarations were signed.


fact buffet


50 millionMore than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy.

Fact sheet

Treatment gap

3/4Three fourths of affected people in developing countries do not get treatment.

Fact sheet

Developing regions

80% Nearly 80% of the people with epilepsy are found in developing regions.

Fact sheet

Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disorder globally and affects people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and 80% of them live in developing countries.

With treatment, an estimated 70% of people with epilepsy can be seizure free, yet about three fourths of people in developing countries do not get the treatment they need. Furthermore, people with epilepsy and their families frequently suffer from stigma and discrimination.

WHO is working with partners and stakeholders to improve access to epilepsy care.

Latest publications

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.