I read with some interest the description of the recent development of not one, but two epilepsy surgery programs in Peru. There are certainly laudable aspects of the work including that, as described, it represents a true transfer of technical and medical capacity and not a “mission trip” with external experts dropping in briefly to declare victory over disease.
Subsequently, over a 5-year period, 93 patients have undergone surgery. Nonetheless, in a county which the World Health Organization reports1 has no national epilepsy action plan or legislation (over half the countries in the region do) and no epilepsy rehabilitation programs to serve the 150,000 Peruvian people with epilepsy,2 it bears asking whether this represents the optimal approach to advancing epilepsy care services in Peru.
With an epilepsy treatment gap in some rural regions of 75%3, one has to hope that there are also ongoing activities and efforts to address the lower hanging fruit of rolling out basic care to the masses.
- Pan American Health Organization paho_report_2013.pdf Report on Epilepsy in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2013.
- Bruno E, Bartoloni A, Zammarchi L, et al. Epilepsy and neurocysticercosis in Latin America: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2013;7:e2480.
- Auditeau E, Moyano LM, Bourdy G, et al. Herbal medicine uses to treat people with epilepsy: A survey in rural communities of northern Peru. J Ethnopharmacol 2018;215:184-190.