Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
There is a need for epilepsy-based health education programs to enlighten Nigerian communities and reduce the stigma associated with epilepsy. Epilepsy in Nigeria is viewed by some as a contagious and an infectious disease or a condition imposed from the gods, possessed by demons, as the work of witchcraft, or punishment from ancestral spirits, which are all related to a lack of knowledge about epilepsy leading to stigmatization of persons with epilepsy. Guided by the stigma theory, the purpose of this community-based, cross sectional study was to quantitatively examine the effect of an educational program on interpersonal, internalized, and institutional stigma of epilepsy in terms of knowledge, attitude, and treatment gained. Two hundred and fifty participants completed a general domain instrument which had been used in different countries, including South Eastern Nigeria, and revised for greater validity via a pilot study. Chi-square tests were used to examine any significant differences in participants' responses between pre- and post-test surveys regarding knowledge, attitude, and treatment gained of all 3 identified stigma levels. According to study results, the educational program reduced all 3 stigma levels in terms of attitude, knowledge, and treatment gained of epilepsy (p< 0.001). This study contributed to positive social change by providing information to public health workers on how to increase the knowledge and awareness of the South Eastern Nigerian community that epilepsy is not contagious or infectious and there is no need to isolate persons with epilepsy from their societies.