Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa); Population Health (East Africa)


Purpose: Approximately one-third of children with epilepsy have clinical syndromes characterized by drug resistance. Modified Atkins dietary therapy (MADT) can reduce seizures and improve health out- comes for these children. This intervention is yet to be consistently offered as standard of care in sub- Saharan Africa.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess feasibility and acceptability of MADT for children with drug- resistant epilepsy and identify enabling strategies for implementation and adherence to the MADT. Methods: This qualitative inquiry utilized in-depth interviews with purposively selected caregivers and adolescent patients having used MADT for drug-resistant epilepsy. A qualified team consisting of a social scientist and an interviewer carried out the interviews with consenting participants. Thematic analysis was done independent of the clinicians.

Results: This study enrolled 17 participants including 14 caregivers of children aged 1–17 years, and three adolescents. Caregivers were predominantly trained professionals living in urban areas who had attended the epilepsy clinic for at least one year. Duration of continuous MADT use ranged from two weeks to two years. Among participants who indicated that they could afford to provide the MADT, it was less costly to provide for younger children and for those living in rural areas. At the time of the study, majority of the caregivers had ceased administration of the MADT, more than half of whom reported bar- riers including cost of food, child refusal of foods, and inconsistent dietician support. Social support was a key enabler to successful implementation and continuation of the diet. Majority of the participants con- sidered MADT to be an effective and acceptable intervention for management of epilepsy.

Conclusions: Among participants in this focused Kenyan group, implementation of MADT was found to be feasible particularly for younger children living in rural areas. Majority of participants evaluated MADT to be an effective and acceptable intervention for management of epilepsy. Cultural factors did not influence feasibility or acceptability of MADT in this study.


Epilepsy & Behavior

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Pediatrics Commons