Epilepsy Foundation launches unique awareness campaign

In a bid to raise epilepsy awareness among communities, the Zimbabwe Epilepsy Support Foundation has turned to peanut butter production with the centre’s label on the container as a way of taking the debate into individual households.

Epilepsy Foundation Centre manufactures peanut butter.
Epilepsy Foundation Centre manufactures peanut butter.

The project is managed by volunteers drawn from the foundation’s members. The director, Victor Mugwagwa, told The Zimbabwean that as peanut butter was a staple diet in most households, the label would stimulate debate about the condition within different families.

“Since our peanut butter is original, families will identify the producing company. With our organisation’s sticker on the package together with contact details, it is only a matter of time before clients begin to contact us for more information about our activities,” said Mugwagwa confidently.

Manufacturing machines at the centre have the capacity to produce over 1,000 bottles of peanut butter per day. As part of the epilepsy lobby strategy, Mugwagwa said the centre was planning to enter the bottled water market. Like the peanut containers, the water bottles would bear the foundation’s logo.

People with epilepsy live unbearable lives due to the non-availability of medical facilities and other aids. The situation was worsened by acute shortages of epilepsy diagnosis machines such as the EEG monitors and MRI scanners. There are only three EEG and two MRI machines in the whole country.

Organisations formed by parents with children affected by epilepsy continue to fall on hard economic times. One such venture, Mwoyo Munyoro of Mabvuku, recently shut down its gardening and peanut butter producing projects due to viability problems. The organisation had 130 members.

An estimated 50 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide. More than 80 percent of the cases are in Africa.

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