Department of Neurophysiology,
Department of Education, University of Cape Town,
Department of Paediatric Neurology, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Neuroscience Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Correspondence: Veena Kander
Department of Paediatric Neurology,
5th Floor ICH,
Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital,
Klipfontein Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town,
7700 South Africa
Incidence of epilepsy is greatest in infancy and childhood; this is especially evident in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The aim of this study was to understand access to electrophysiology services in SSA including which health practitioner performs and interprets paediatric electroencephalogram (EEG) studies as well as their training in paediatric EEG.
A web-based survey was sent to a cohort of health care practitioners who manage children with epilepsy in SSA. The questions addressed whether EEG was available to these health care practitioners, how the practitioners accessed EEG and who assisted interpretation of the study results. The survey was circulated (June-December 2019) to 305 participants from 32 African countries.
A total of 73 (16 partial and 57 complete) surveys were returned from 18 countries. The respondents fell into two main categories: those with access to an EEG machine (44/73; 60%) and those without access to an EEG machine (29/73; 40%). For 32% (23/73), there was no dedicated technician and for 34% (25/73) no neurologist. Access to a neurologist resulted in the highest proportion of EEGs performed per annum. Of the respondents, 77% (56/73) agreed that there was a need for a paediatric apprenticeship in EEG skills. Qualitative data to justify need for paediatric EEG training was grouped into three themes: (1) “professional development”; (2) “better care”; and (3) “help paediatric patients and neurologists”.
There is a lack of paediatric EEG training amongst doctors and technicians working with epilepsy in SSA. Expanding training beyond current capacity in SSA, for technicians and practitioners involved in EEG, is necessary.