In its third meeting held in Riyadh on 04 April 2001, the AGFUND Prize Committee has approved a prize entitled “The Initiative Prize” amounting to US$ 40,000, to be awarded to the “Epilepsy Awareness Campaign (EAC) Project“, which is implemented in Riyadh, kingdom of Saudi Arabia, upon the initiative and efforts of Ms Asma Enright.
The Initiative Prize was awarded to this project in recognition of the efforts exerted in its implementation and to encourage women’s participation in the development of their communities.
The project was selected for the Initiative Prize amongst other 26 projects, competed for the prize under the third category, of which subject for the year 2001 was “Reinforcement of voluntary work in the community”. The “EAC” was nominated for the AGFUND Prize by King Faisal specialist Hospital & Research Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The project aims at achieving the following objectives:
To promote epilepsy health education and support for individuals with epilepsy and their families through public information lectures and conferences, distribution of educational printed materials about epilepsy and seizure first aid training.
To promote community through lecture at hospitals, universities or other institutes and through newspapers and television.
To enhance medical care and strengthen medical emergency response by organizing epilepsy workshops for health care professionals.
To advocate integration of individuals with epilepsy as productive contributing members of the community.
The beneficiaries of the project include individuals with epilepsy, particularly women, children and their families, health care professionals including pediatrics nurses and neurologists.
Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder, affecting 40-50 million individuals worldwide, and 85% of whom live in developing countries. Although 70-80% of individuals with epilepsy could live normal life if properly treated, the reality is that it is often not recognized that epilepsy is treatable and the majority of people with epilepsy is treated inadequately and inappropriately because of ignorance, discrimination and limited health care resources. Epilepsy can have serious psychological, social and economic consequences for the afflicted persons and their families. However, the impact of epilepsy is most severe in childhood or adolescence as 50% of epilepsy cases begin at childhood and adolescence. Despite the fact that most individuals with epilepsy can be effectively and inexpensively treated; lack of adequate early detection and thus delay in treatment worsens the medical prognosis thereby having a negative effect on the social and economic status.
The Epilepsy Awareness Campaign (EAC), which the AGFUND Prize Committee approved as winner of “The Initiative prize” is considered to be a unique and innovative project as it aims, through voluntary work, at increasing society awareness of epilepsy. The project contributes to sustainable human development by targeting the victims of the disease and calls for their social intervention.