Panel Discussion: 'If you want to change the world, change your approach - lessons from the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Epilepsy'

03 November 2022

Portrait of Professor Arjune Sen

with Professor Arjune Sen
Professor of Global Epilepsy

Professor Arjune Sen is appointed as Consultant Neurologist at The John Radcliffe Hospital, NIHR BRC Senior Research Fellow in Epileptology, Professor of Global Epilepsy at the University of Oxford and is Head of the Oxford Epilepsy Research Group. ...

Portrait of Dr Sloan Mahone

with Dr Sloan Mahone
Associate Professor of the History of Medicine at Oxford University

Dr Sloan Mahone is Associate Professor of the History of Medicine at Oxford University. She specialises in the history of psychiatry and neurology in Africa as well as the history of medicine and psychiatry globally. She is based at the Oxford Centre...

Portrait of Dr Gift Ngwende

with Dr Gift Ngwende
Chairman of the Department of Medicine, University of Zimbabwe

Dr Gift Ngwende has been a physician and neurologist since 2008 and is Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. He runs the Epilepsy and Neurology clinic at Parirenyatwa Hospital in...

Portrait of Professor Timothy Denison

with Professor Timothy Denison
Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies

Professor Denison holds a joint appointment in Engineering Science and Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford, where he explores the fundamentals of physiologic closed-loop systems in collaboration with the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit. Tim also serves ...

How do we solve health inequity?

There are over 50 neurologists in Oxford. In the whole of Ghana (population 33 million), there are six. In Zimbabwe (population 15 million) there are two. A suggestion that has been offered for many years is to develop new technologies to assist non-physician healthcare workers. Yet, resource poor settings are littered with failed attempts to do this. Donating an MRI scan does nothing if you do not have the personnel to maintain it. Similarly, providing expensive drugs is likely to break the country’s healthcare budget once the grant funding runs out.

How, then, do we develop sustainable improvements in health care across low to middle income settings?

In this panel discussion we explore a novel approach taken to tackle epilepsy, one of the most common, serious neurological illnesses. By embedding an oral history programme within a project designing economically viable technologies, we showcase how the lived experience of people with a condition can lead to enduring solutions. There is open discussion on the challenges faced and the aspirations for future work. Importantly, we hear from in-country collaborators and from those in other resource limited settings as we try and better understand how apps and devices may be delivered at scale.

The expert panel includes neurologists from Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Oxford engineers and historians. The discussion is moderated by Arjune Sen and Kevin Marsh.

This is a joint event with the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Epilepsy