Quality of life of persons with epilepsy in Mahenge, an onchocerciasis-endemic area in Tanzania: A cross-sectional study

Luís Jorge Amaral, Dan Bhwana, Messaline F. Fomo, Bruno P. Mmbando, Carmen Nabintu Chigoho, Robert Colebunders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This study investigated the quality of life (QoL) of adults with epilepsy living in Mahenge, an onchocerciasis-endemic area in Tanzania with a high prevalence of onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE). Methods: Between February and December 2020, persons with epilepsy (PWE) were recruited from four rural villages in Mahenge: Mdindo, Msogezi, Mzelezi, and Sali. For PWE who could not answer the questionnaire due to their mental or physical disability, a family member was asked to answer the questions instead. The Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory-31 (QOLIE-31) questionnaire used contained seven domains. The raw domain scores were transformed to 0–100% subscales, with higher scores indicating better QoL. The global QoL was calculated from the subscales using the overall QOLIE-31 score formula. Results: In total, 96 PWE were enrolled in the study with a median age of 28 (range: 18–60) years, of whom 45 (47%) were male. The questionnaires were answered by PWE (54.8%) or one of their family members (45.2%). Most PWE were single (81%), and half never attended school. About two-thirds (65%) of PWE were suspected of having OAE, and a third (31%) had a history of head nodding seizures. Most PWE were treated with phenobarbital (85.4%) and had high treatment adherence (96.9%). Still, the number of seizures per week ranged from 0 to 7, with a median of one. The mean global QOLIE-31 score was 66.9 (range: 38.3–92.1) out of 100.0. Predictors of lower QoL were living in Sali Village and experiencing seizures the week before the interview. In contrast, completing primary school and switching to second-line anti-seizure medication were predictors of higher QoL. Conclusion: In order to improve the QoL of PWE in Mahenge, it is vital to optimize anti-seizure medication regimens to decrease the frequency of seizures and to increase the schooling of PWE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109302
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Volume145
Early online date17 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Education
  • Epilepsy, onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy
  • Nodding syndrome
  • Quality of life

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