Improving the Future for Guineans Living with Epilepsy

“I met a student who could enroll in university because her seizures had abated.” 

One aspect of Heart to Heart International’s mission is to provide medicines and supplies to hospitals, clinics and international medical teams around the world. Ignace Deen Hospital in the Republic of Guinea is a recent recipient of such medications. A team from Massachusetts General Hospital received anti-seizure medications from HHI to continue its research project on epilepsy in Guinea.

Epilepsy is characterized by unpredictable seizures and can cause other health problems. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages.

On the team’s last research trip to Guinea, they started approximately 200 patients on levetiracetam, a safe and effective anti-epileptic drug. This allowed may Guineans with epilepsy to live seizure free. The teams discovered that Guineans had access to some anti-epileptic drugs, but haven’t been able to find the safety and efficacy of levetiracetam. On this year’s trip, the researchers and physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital administered EEGs and surveys to Guineans with epilepsy. They prescribed and distributed anti-epileptic drugs. After the team left, physicians from Ignace Deen Hospital were able to continue prescribing and distributing the safe anti-epileptic drug.

The team reported back after their trip:

“I met a 14-year-old patient and his father who told me that, while on levetiracetam, he was finally able to sleep throughout the night, finally able to go to school regularly. They were immeasurably grateful to receive more. I met a student who could enroll in university because her seizures had abated. I’ve met children, grandparents, students, doctors, parents, all who’ve had their lives improve because of the levetiracetam we gave them. There are quite literally hundreds of these stories. I’ve discovered that, while they have access to some anti-epileptic drugs, people with epilepsy in Guinea have been unable to find safe and effective drugs until they received levetiracetam from us and from you. From the entire team here,  I want to give deep thanks to Heart to Heart,” Andre Vogel, Clinical Research Coordinator at Neurological Clinical Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, said.”

Categories: Access to Healthcare , Product Distribution