- According to government sources, the number of snake bite cases in Telangana from January to first week of May in 2019 is 50% to 70% less than first five months of 2017 and 2018. Underreporting is suspected as a reason for the drop in cases.
- Recently, the World Health Organisation unveiled “Snakebite Envenoming: A strategy for prevention and control”. The strategy targets reducing disabilities and deaths due to snakebites by 50% by 2030.
- The strategy is based on four pillars: a) empower and engage communities, b) ensure safe and effective treatment, c) strengthen health systems and d) increase coordination, partnership and resources.
- The WHO strategy seeks to reduce snakebite deaths and disabilities through a) ensuring access to treatment such as anti-venoms and ancillary medical care by increasing the number of manufacturers by 25% and creating a global antivenom stockpile and b) encouraging research on new treatments, diagnostics and health device breakthroughs.
- In 2017, WHO had formally categorised “snakebite envenoming” as a Neglected Tropical Disease.
- Snake bite affects 1.8–2.7 million people each year. It is a neglected public health issue in many tropical and subtropical countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- Further, most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making High quality snake antivenoms accessible. They are included in the WHO List of essential medicines.
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