According to Nimba County Health Officer Dr. Collins Bowah, there is an alarming rate of epilepsy in the lower Nimba County district of Yarwinmesson.
The condition, he said, is of such concern to Ministry of Health officials that they have started distributing four months of drugs to the victims.
Epilepsy, locally referred as a kind of ‘spell,’ is a condition that affects the brain and is characterized by unpredictable seizures that can result in physical injuries.
Dr. Bowah made the disclosure during an interview on what the government is doing about taking mentally ill people off the streets of Nimba.
He said the MoH is investigating the cause of the high rate of epilepsy in the southern part of the county, extending as far as Rivercess and Grand Bassa counties.
The county health team, he said, is not aware of ‘mad people’ roaming the streets, who sometimes attack people, to the chagrin of locals that prompted the visit with Dr. Bowah.
“The issue pertaining to the growing number of crazy people in Nimba is not the Ministry of Health’s business alone, but it requires the line ministries including Gender. But what is more important here is that Yarwinmesson and its environs is the epicenter of these cases of epilepsy. But the government is investigating it and in the meanwhile distributing drugs to the affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, locals have long raised the alarm of the high rate of epilepsy on local radio. Some youth blame the frequent occurrence of the illness on witchcraft and is calling for a traditional way of handling it.
Yarwinmesson is one of the remotest parts of Nimba County, connecting Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Bong counties. It is the home of Liberia’s future capital, “Zekepa.”