Mr. K, aged 60 years, lives in a VDC of Sindhuli district. He comes from a very poor family belonging to Dalit community and has been living with his mother, younger brother, daughter-in-law and brother’s children. His wife and two sons stay at his wife’s maternal home.
It has been 20 years when his father died during his childhood. He could not learn any work skills and so used to earn working in small fete. He used to have giddiness and get fainted at times during those days. However, it did not affect much in his job initially. He has been suffering from this illness for approximately 15-16 years. The severity of the problem had been increasing leaving him incapable of carrying out any work. When he gets attacks, he experiences giddiness followed by abnormal involuntary body movements, loss of consciousness, frothing, tongue bite and sometimes stool and urinary incontinence. He would be unaware of those events. This would last for about 3-4 minutes. After that he would fall sleepy and confused for sometime. After he wakes up, he experiences bodily pain, heaviness, and starts staring vacantly.
His family members took him to the traditional faith healers thinking it was due to witchcraft. They spent a huge amount of money on rituals. He was also taken to a priest “lama” who tied him the religious thread called “buti”. He would show symptoms intermittently. He got married during the symptom free period. However, the asymptomatic period did not last longer. The priest “lama” was again called hoping the problem would resolve with his traditional rituals. However, it turned out futile and the family ran out of money.
One day when his family were in a fair in the village, he developed seizure and fell into the fire. He sustained a burn injury to the right half of the body. He was rescued by his mother and ayurvedic “jadibuti” medications were applied locally. His problem worsened day by day and he started having as much as 3-4 episodes in a day. His family members started neglecting him and they locked him in a room. Villagers and his family members believed that this he would never recover and the disease had no treatment at all. He used to attack his wife physically at times during the periods of loss of consciousness. His wife also began to mistreat him due to his disease. Thinking that he had gone mad, he was locked inside the room. His wife left him and went to her maternal home along with children. He was totally helpless.
One day the episode of loss of consciousness was witnessed by a FCHV in the ward. She said that it could be “Epilepsy” and advised his mother to visit the nearby health facility where an organization named TPO Nepal had trained health workers on diagnosing and managing the disorder and that the treatment would be free of cost. The prescriber listened to the mother carefully and diagnosed him as having “Epilepsy” and prescribed medication to be taken twice daily after food. He also advised the mother on seizure precautions and psycho-educated on the illness. The counselor has been following him up periodically and has been advising them on the need to continue medication and follow up.
It has been 2 months since he started taking medications. He had a single episode of seizure on the third day of starting medication. He has been completely asymptomatic thereafter. He has been taking medication regularly. It has brought much improvement in his life. Even though he has been disabled with burn injury, he has been managing to do well with his livelihood.
He expresses his vote of thanks to prescriber and TPO Nepal for providing free services to the poor and needy people in the community. He seems very happy to start a new chapter of life. However, he wishes the treatment to be available free of cost to other people as well in need till complete recovery is ascertained.