An epilepsy NGO has provided training to Vision AfriKa’s teachers to help them spot and deal with this often unrecognised condition among their own learners.
Epilepsy South Africa approached the educational development NGO on realising that it had no presence in either Stellenbosch or the town’s Kayamandi township. Although only one Vision AfriKa student is known to suffer from the condition, the number of undiagnosed people in Kayamandi is believed to be much higher given the number of telephone calls that the local hospital receives in relation to people who have experienced a seizure.
As a result, the aim is to educate the community in order to make them more aware of the disorder and to ensure they know when they should ask for help.
The training was conducted by Mrs Wendy Adams who talked about the fact that epilepsy is not hereditary but is instead brought about by a lack of oxygen at birth, head injuries or infection. Some epileptics also have particular triggers that spark seizures such as illness or hormonal changes.
Mrs Adams also taught the 11 teachers and teaching assistants that attended the session how to help someone should they experience a seizure. First of all, it is necessary to place your foot under their head to ensure they do not hurt themselves by banging it on the ground.
Next find something soft such as a cushion to place under their head, and turn them on their side to enable them to breathe more easily. If the seizure lasts for more than six minutes, call an ambulance.
In other health-related news, Vision AfriKa’s Primary School Grade R, 1 and 2 learners are now receiving morning sport lessons from new volunteer Mr Andrew Fielding. His own child attends the Rhenish Primary School but, on hearing about its outreach programme, he volunteered to help.
Mr Fielding, who comes from Canada, teaches the students cricket twice a week in the field of multifunctional community centre, the Legacy Centre.