Attitude to Health/*ethnology
Epilepsy/*ethnology/etiology/*prevention & control
*Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
*Medicine, African Traditional
Surveys and Questionnaires
Although epilepsy may be successfully managed with appropriate medication, in Africa epileptics are often vilified, sometimes because of traditional beliefs about the illness. We investigated the strength of beliefs which 112 rural Malawians held regarding traditional and medical explanations for the cause, treatment and cure of epilepsy. Those who believed in traditional causes of epilepsy also endorsed traditional treatment for it, though they did not see such treatment as curative. Those who believed in a medical treatment, did however see such treatment as curative. Knowledge of a local medical facility for the treatment of epilepsy was also positively related to the belief that epilepsy is curable. The ability of people to simultaneously hold medical and traditional beliefs about epilepsy was noted.