How Much Do We Know? Assessing Public Knowledge, Awareness, Impact, and Awareness Guidelines for Epilepsy: A Systematic Review

O.P. Musekwa1, L. Makhado2, *, A. Maphula1, J.T. Mabunda2
1 Department of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
2 Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Musekwa et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, South Africa;
Tel: +2715 9628828/8161; E-mail:



Epilepsy misconceptions are widespread; these influence the quality of life of people living with epilepsy (50 million people worldwide) and their families.


The review’s objective was to highlight the public knowledge and awareness of epilepsy with an emphasis on its impact, gaps, and available guidelines for public awareness.


The search databases included PubMed, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar using keywords, index terms as well as the Boolean search. Twenty-seven studies were included, which yielded three themes and six sub-themes.


Three themes emerged from the data: knowledge, beliefs, and awareness of epilepsy, the impact of epilepsy, and epilepsy awareness guide. From these themes, six sub-themes were established.


Generally, people in Africa continue to hold misconceptions about epilepsy. This study shows that there is a need for further research examining the level of knowledge and awareness held in different contexts to develop a means to educate the general public as it has been revealed that there is generally inadequate knowledge and awareness of epilepsy. Furthermore, this study gathers knowledge that is now accessible as a threshold to much-needed research on epilepsy education, awareness and knowledge in Africa.

Keywords: Awareness impact, Awareness guide, Epilepsy, Knowledge, Misconceptions, People living with epilepsy.