‘Avoid witchdoctors’ seek medical advice, physician tells parents

Dr Shrish Acharya of the CWM hospital. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

COLONIAL War Memorial Hospital senior physician Dr Shrish Acharya has called on parents around the country to stop resorting to witchdoctors or religious remedies for healing their children diagnosed with epilepsy.

Since 2013, he said, they had diagnosed more than 500 people with epilepsy with the electroencephalogram (EEG) available at the hospital; the youngest was a one month-old baby and oldest was an 89-year-old.

“Sometimes when children have these seizures in Hindi it is known as mirghi and iTaukei is manumanunisoni, this is when most parents think some sort of witch or devil has done something to their children,” Dr Acharya said.

“Sometimes they think that someone might have done something to their child or some sort of superstitious stuff.”

He advised parents to seek medical advice if their children were experiencing fits or seizures.

“That’s a sickness like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or any other sickness.

“It’s because there is an abnormal electric impulse within the brain which causes the sickness,” he said.

“There is treatment and if they are treated their situation will get better and if children aren’t brought in for treatment they could suffer for the rest of their lives.”

To seek healing from witchdoctors, he said, was inappropriate and it could delay treatment for a child with epilepsy.

“Delay in medication means more brain damage which can affect a child’s performance; we have children that have stopped school of the sickness because they haven’t received treatment.

Children with epilepsy can be cured and there is medication.”