and related movement disorders
The Parkinson's Association of South Africa (NPO 003-851) was first established in 1970. For the first 30 years it survived as a very small, privately funded unit, with most of its operations carried out by volunteers. Learn more about PASA
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells. In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. In short, a person's brain slowly stops producing dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.
While there are no researched statistics available on the number of people in South Africa afflicted with movement disorders, international statistics indicate that 2% of people over the age of 56 get Parkinson's Disease. Analysis of prescribed medication dispensed across South Africa suggests that there are some 15,000 people in the country suffering from movement disorders. However this figure excludes rural and marginalised communities where such disorders go largely undiagnosed and where the elderly, in particular, have little chance of consulting specialist physicians or accessing the right medication.