The scientific sessions form the main part of the congress. The programme covers topics that are highly relevant within the African region and further afield and provide a flavour of the latest research in the field of epilepsy. Sessions will feature presentations from leaders in the discipline, including lectures by world-renowned experts.

The Scientific and Organising Committee has endeavoured to create an appealing and diverse programme from the numerous proposals submitted by ILAE and IBE Chapters and other experts.

Sessions cover the following topics:

  • Treatment gap
  • Epilepsy through the ages
  • The challenges of management
  • Epilepsy, society and cultural aspects
  • Education
  • Capacity building and creating alliances in Africa
  • Prevention is better than cure
  • Current translational and clinical research – implications for patient care
  • Epilepsy in the community
  • ILAE Young Epilepsy Section (ILAE-YES) Town Hall Meeting
  • Social inclusion of persons with epilepsy

Full details of the session programmes may be found in the SESSIONS section below.


Complementing the programme there will be several focused workshops. The ILAE Commission on Pediatrics will hold a workshop on ‘Research in children with epilepsy in Africa – current research practice and challenges to undertaking research’ and the IBE will run a symposium on ‘Making epilepsy a national priority in African countries’ on the afternoon of 24 August. Further details may be found below.

In addition, an IBRO course will take place pre-congress, on 21 August.


Click on the image below to view the programme schedule.

Treatment gap

Co-chairs: Samuel Wiebe (Canada) & Martin Brodie (Scotland)

  • The epilepsy treatment gap in Africa – Charles Newton (Kenya)
  • Interventions to reduce the treatment gap – Caroline Kathomi Mbuba (Kenya)
  • Reducing the epilepsy treatment gap in Mozambique – Palmira Fortunato dos Santos (Mozambique)
  • Raising public awareness of epilepsy in Africa – Taurai Kadzviti (Zimbabwe)

Epilepsy through the ages

Co-chairs: Angelina Kakooza (Uganda) & Callixte Kuate (Cameroon)

  • Infantile spasms; optimising diagnosis and management – Jo Wilmshurst (South Africa)
  • The challenge of the early onset epilepsies – J Helen Cross (United Kingdom)
  • Psychological comorbidities of children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa – Elhadji Makhtar Ba (Senegal)
  • The role of transition programmes for epilepsy in Africa – Pierre Genton (France)

The challenges of management

Co-chairs: Pauline Samia (Kenya) & Richard Idro (Uganda)

  • Making a diagnosis – what is required? – Solomon Moshe (USA)
  • Has success of treatment changed over time? – Martin Brodie (Scotland)
  • PNES – detection and tips for treatment – Markus Reuber (United Kingdom)
  • The role of the clinical officer in the management of epilepsy – Anthony Zimba (Zambia)

Epilepsy, society and cultural aspects

Co-chairs: Mark Kaddumukasa (Uganda) & Pierre Genton (France)

  • Media representation of epilepsy – Sally Nyakanyanga (Zimbabwe)
  • Traditional treatments – Thomas Walunguba (Uganda)
  • Role of community and government leaders – Sarah Nekesa (Uganda)


Co-chairs: Jo Wilmshurst (South Africa) & J Helen Cross (United Kingdom)

  • Challenges from the treatment and education gaps in epilepsy in low, middle and high income countries – Edward Kija (Tanzania)
  • A credit-based certificate program in epileptology: proposal from the Education Task Force (ILAE) – Samuel Wiebe (Canada)

Capacity building and creating alliances in Africa

Co-chairs: Sarah Nekesa (Uganda) & Mary Secco (Canada)

  • WHA68.20 and the Global Epilepsy Report – Mary Secco (Canada)
  • Working with the African Union to improve epilepsy policies and services in Africa – Lefhoko Kesamang (Congo)
  • Working with governments to improve epilepsy care – Dorcas Sithole (Zimbabwe)
  • Creating alliances with other organisations – Mesu’a-Kabwa Luabeya (Congo, Dem. Rep. of)

Prevention is better than cure

Co-chairs: Charles Hammond (Ghana) & Anthony Zimba (Zambia)

  • Perinatal risk factors and the epilepsies – Pauline Samia (Kenya)
  • Head injury – Graham Fieggen (South Africa)
  • Onchocerca volvulus, the unrecognised cause of the large burden of epilepsy in Africa – Richard Idro (Uganda)
  • Neurocysticercosis and epilepsy – Athanase Millogo (Burkina Faso)

Current translational and clinical research – implications for patient care

Co-chairs: Charles Newton (Kenya) & Solomon Moshe (USA)

  • Cestode larvae in the brain: investigating cellular mechanisms of neurocysticercosis – Joseph Raimundo (South Africa)
  • Infectious and inflammatory contribution to epilepsy development – epidemiological and clinical aspects – Angelina Kakooza (Uganda)
  • Advances in epilepsy genetics – derived concepts for clinical care of patients – Alina Esterhuizen (South Africa)
  • Cortical dysplasias – diagnostic and treatment strategies – Samuel Wiebe (Canada)

Epilepsy in the community

Co-chairs: Action Amos (Malawi) & Marina Clarke (South Africa)

  • Misconceptions and stigma reduction interventions in SSA – Mark Kaddumukasa (Uganda)
  • BRIDGE project in Nigeria – Aminu Taura Abdullahi (Nigeria)
  • Rural epilepsy challenges and initiatives – Max Bangura (Sierra Leone)

ILAE Young Epilepsy Section (ILAE-YES) Town Hall Meeting

Co-chairs: Jo Wilmshurst (South Africa) & J Helen Cross (United Kingdom)

  • Introducing YES to Africa: What is YES – why and how to get involved? – Musa Watila (Nigeria)
  • Opportunities for young clinicians and researchers in Africa; and Q&A session – Charles Hammond (Ghana), Edward Kija (Tanzania), Robert Sebunya (Uganda)

Innovations for Africa

Co-chairs: J Helen Cross (United Kingdom) & Edward Kija (Tanzania)

  • The ketogenic diet – when and how – Katherine Megaw (South Africa)
  • Establishing an epilepsy surgery programme – Graham Fieggen (South Africa)
  • How can technology play a role in resource poor settings – Najib Kissani (Morocco)
  • Taking management to the patient – Amadou Gallo Diop (Senegal)

Social inclusion of persons with epilepsy

  • Social inclusion – Jacob Mugumbate (Zimbabwe)
  • Promoting human rights – tbc
  • Income and employment strategies – Action Amos (Malawi)
  • Innovative solutions for epilepsy awareness – Frederick Beuchi (Kenya)

ILAE Commission on Pediatrics: Research in children with epilepsy in Africa – current research practice and challenges to undertaking research

Co-chairs: Jo Wilmshurst (South Africa) & Pauline Samia (Kenya)

  • Current research trends in children with epilepsy in LMIC – Pauline Samia (Kenya)
  • Access to training in paediatric epilepsy in Africa – Jo Wilmshurst (South Africa)
  • Challenges and approaches to undertaking epilepsy research in Africa – Edward Kija (Tanzania)
  • Establishing basic neuroscience research in Africa to inform the clinical management of status epilepticus – Joseph Raimondo (South Africa)
  • How to approach publishing your epilepsy research – Markus Reuber (United Kingdom)

The epilepsy treatment gap for children with epilepsy is varied worldwide and significantly contributes to poor outcomes. In Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) specific challenges exist. This session will explore the challenges associated with access to care for children in LMICs, report on the current research trends in children with epilepsy in LMICs and describe the challenges to research in children with epilepsy in LMICs with an exploration regarding how this narrative can be changed. This session is provided at no charge, places are limited to 45 attendees and the forum will include open presentations allowing attendee-panel interaction. This session targets health care practitioners interested or involved in the care of children with epilepsy in Africa.


IBE Symposium: Making epilepsy a national priority in African countries

Co-chairs:  Action Amos (Malawi) & Sarah Nekesa (Uganda)

  • Welcome, introductions and agenda – Jacob Mugumbate (Zimbabwe) & Martin Brodie (Scotland)
  • The experiences, needs and challenges of epilepsy stakeholders in Africa – Nina Mago (Uganda), Kenneth Nsom (Cameroon), Betty Nsachilwa (Zambia), Marina Clarke (South Africa)

Discussion panel:  Anthony Zimba (Zambia), Osman Miyanji (Kenya), Mbuso Mahlalela (Eswatini), Max Bangura (Sierra Leone)

  • Developing a plan of action: lessons from the advocacy project – Justine Engole (Kenya)
  • Addressing stigma in Africa: the way forward – facilitated group discussion on the way forward:

Group 1 Stigma in rural areas

Group 2 Stigma in urban areas

Group 3 Stigma among children and young people  – Group Facilitator: Nina Mago

Group 4 Treatment as a strategy to address stigma

  • Closing remarks  – Anthony Zimba (Zambia) & Ann Little (Ireland)

This symposium will focus on developing the capacity of epilepsy chapters in Africa enabling them to advocate for improvement in care and changes in health policy. This symposium is targeted to IBE chapter staff, people with epilepsy, leaders of advocacy programs, medical and allied health practitioners. There is no fee to attend this symposium.