Jan 10, 2018
Loma Linda, California, United States
Two Loma Linda University Health physicians have established the first physician-run epilepsy treatment programs in the southeastern African nation of Malawi.
Warren Boling, MD, and Travis Losey, MD, traveled last year to Malawi, where there are scant resources for treating the estimated 900,000 Malawians believed to be affected by the disease. Losey says there were only a handful of nurse-run clinics in the entire nation where patients could receive treatment for epilepsy.
Boling, a professor and chair of neurosurgery at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and Losey, medical director for adult neurology at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Loma Linda University, established the treatment programs at Malamulo Adventist Hospital in rural Makwasa, and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Malawi’s second-largest city, Blantyre. They took a video EEG system made by Natus Neurology with them to record electrical patterns in the brain, enabling physicians to diagnose seizures, convulsions and related disorders.
In the West, epilepsy — a neurological malady that causes sufferers to lose consciousness or experience uncontrollable convulsions due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain — is a common brain disorder, affecting roughly one percent of the population. But in some developing countries, it is far more common. Losey said an estimated 1 out of every 20 of the 18 million residents of Malawi suffers from the disorder.
In setting up the new centers, Boling and Losey worked with neurosurgeon Patrick Kamalo, MBBS, MMED, at Queen Elizabeth, and internist Timothy Gobble, MD, a 2012 graduate of LLU School of Medicine, at Malamulo. Although Boling and Losey returned to Loma Linda in early September, they maintain close contact with their Malawian counterparts through virtual technology that allows them to consult on patient cases and continue the peer-mentoring process from afar.