How to improve the management of Snakebites in Zambia?
Snakebites are a serious health issue. In 2017 the world Health Organisation recognised it as one of the Highest Priority Neglected Tropical Diseases". But apart from a medical problem, it is also a socio-economical problem: victims of snakebites often get bitten while working in the field. if they die, the family loses a cost winner. If the victim survives with a life-long affliction, such as amputations or neurological disorders, he or see is less able to work and thus the family is affected as well.
There are several challenges that negative affect snakebite treatment in Zambia.
There is no national snakebite management plan
Snakebite treatment is not part of the national health curriculum
There is no reliable stock of the required SAIMR Polyvalent antivenom
There is no comprehensive data on snakebite incidences, deaths etc.
Neither the Ministry of Health nor any of the health sector partners have allocated any budget towards snakebite treatment.
There is, generally, very little knowledge on snakebite management in Zambia.
As HHiSS we lobby for the inclusion of snakebite treatment in Zambia's health curriculum. In addition, we sensitise communities, thus reducing the number of snakebites and we give snakebite first aid lectures at several universities. We further offer a Snake Toxicology and First Aid in Snakebites training course and we partner with potential partners in the health sector. Finally, we have written a book "First aid in snakebites in Zambia".