Snakebite-A fatal Disease Un-Noticed in India
India is home to 300 species of snakes. Only socially educated knows, not all snakes are poisonous. Out of 300, only 62 species are poisonous. Most dangerous are saw-scaled viper, kriat, Russel’s viper and of-course Indian cobra. These species account almost fatalities in India.
Annually, 54 Lakhs (approx) cases of snakebites are reported worldwide according to World Health Organisation. To your surprise, out of 54 lakhs, 28 lakhs (approx) are reported in India only. If death data is to be believed then 1 lakh deaths are reported annually worldwide. Out of 1 Lakh, 50,000 deaths are reported only in India.
Why & When
Why data is alarming in India. Many factors contribute. Most of population in India resides countryside.
Monsoon is high time when these reptiles are furious. Sawan month is auspicious month for mating. Reptile come out to mate, lay eggs and new mothers stay furious in full course. Their dens are flooded furthermore. They refuge in frustration and come cross path with humans. More than 70% cases of snakebite are reported in monsoon.
Administration & Management
Identification plays crucial role. In many cases victim doesn’t know what bite him/her. In that case symptom identification is only key.
Cost of Antivenom
Another crucial player. 100 ml of antivenom within 100 minutes of bite is required to save life. A vial of antivenom costs between Rs 300 to Rs 500. Loading a dose for venomous bite require 10 vials. Poor victims hesitate to reach hospital and land up in occult practices and local healers. Snakebite treatment is free in government hospitals. But government hospitals are distant in many areas. Furthermore, all government hospitals don’t have antivenom. Sometimes hospitals are available, antivenom is available but lack of administer (doctor) forces victim to run to another hospital. Again time lapse and undesired results.
There is need to streamline resources, set up proper administration and well trained staff to deal with snakebite emergencies.
Disbelief, Education & First Aid.
Well a long way is yet to travel OR whether we have started even OR Are they poor who are victims so nobody is notifying this fatal disease.
- Add basics of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, Do’s and don’ts during snakebite, first aid and treatment in basic seduction system.
- Snakebite management should be included in mainstream study in MBBS colleges.
- Local healers to be advised to direct snakebite cases to hospitals.
- Block level teams to be constituted to deal with snakebite emergencies. Same teams can organise awareness camps in panchayat level.
- Snatchers be appointed on panchayat level and to be ready just a call away. Same skilled persons can showcase live snakes and people can have practical appreciation.
What I can do
It becomes imperative for us to know what to do in case of snakebite. A piece of slide given below can help understand better.
WHO KNOWS A DROP OF KNOWLEDGE TODAY CAN SAVE SOMEONE ONE DAY