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Novartis Gathers Local Experts, Filipino Mothers to Highlight Women's Journey in ADHD, Alzheimer's Disease and Epilepsy

How can mothers deal with the challenges of caring for their child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Is childbearing and breastfeeding possible for women with epilepsy? As a care provider, how can women cope with the increasing needs of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease?

These were among the difficult issues raised during a Novartis-organized media briefing on “The Journey of Women in ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and Epilepsy” held today at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.

ADHD is a chronic condition that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness.

“ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy have a huge impact on the quality of life of patients and their family. As mothers and care providers, women have to bear the burden in coping with the challenges posed by these serious neurological conditions. It is fitting that we are holding this event during our celebration of Women’s Month this March. Novartis is committed to work with government, local doctors, patient groups, and other stakeholders in helping Filipino women face the challenges posed by ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy,” said Ms. Cheryl Maley, President and Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

“Compared to their peers, women with epilepsy and are within childbearing age face unique challenges relating to pregnancy and breastfeeding. They must work closely with their obstetrician and pediatrician to address these challenges and enjoy the fulfillment of motherhood,” said Dr. Leonor Cabral-Lim, Chair, Department of Neurosciences, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital.

“Raising a child with ADHD is not an easy task, and mothers often struggle to cope. In one American study, mothers of children with ADHD reported little family support, high perception of child-related demands, and less confidence in their success in mothering their children,” said Dr. Elizabeth Palines, Chairperson, Department of Pediatrics, Batangas Medical Center.

“The current number of Filipinos age 60 and older is about 7 million, accounting for approximately 7% of the country’s total population. The National Statistics Office projects that by 2030 senior citizens will make up almost 12% of the country’s total population. To address the challenges of an aging population, dementia care services including public education on the condition should be integrated into our healthcare system,” said Dr. Socorro Martinez, Chairperson, Dementia Council of the Philippine Neurological Association.

“The DOH lauds Novartis for promoting awareness and education on common neurological disorders such as ADHD, dementia and epilepsy. We hope that this event will facilitate increased cooperation among stakeholders and inspire commitment to provide the best possible care for people who suffer from ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, as well as support for their caregivers, particularly women,” said Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

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