Snakebite envenoming is a devastating—and massively neglected—public health challenge in many countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. The lack of reliable in-country data— under-reporting is believed to be over 70%— makes it difficult to know the true impact of snakebite envenoming, but conservative estimates show that, every year, it kills 81,000–138,000 people and leaves 400,000 more with significant disabilities, such as amputated limbs and blindness.
Impoverished people living in rural areas, particularly agricultural workers, herders, fishers, hunters, working children, people living in poorly constructed homes, and people with limited access to education and healthcare, are at greatest risk of snakebite envenoming.
To minimise the suffering caused by snakebite envenoming, community knowledge and use of effective snakebite prevention and first aid measures must be increased. In addition, reliable access to safe, effective, affordable and quality-assured antivenom and other clinical and rehabilitation treatment by trained healthcare workers is desperately needed.
Our Snakebite Project is currently active in Kenya and Uganda, and is based on our Action Plan on Preventing and Treating Snakebite in Resource-poor Settings. In collaboration with members of the Global Snakebite Initiative (GSI) and our country partners, the Access to Medicines Platform Kenya and HEPS Uganda, our Project is:
- Gathering evidence on snakebite incidence rates, community and health system response and the price, availability and affordability of antivenom.
- Empowering communities and healthcare workers through capacity building and education on effective prevention, first aid, management and treatment of snakebite.
- Equipping civil society with evidence and advocacy skills to press for greater policy action on snakebite.
- Increasing visibility for snakebite at the global level while providing an expert civil society voice and supporting health authorities with developing and implementing strategies to tackle the snakebite burden at all levels.
You can access materials such as posters on snakebite prevention and first aid here.