Policy Brief | 21 May 2019 | Download PDF

Snakebite envenoming kills 81,000–138,000 people every year and permanently disables 400,000 more. Rural workers in impoverished communities in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia are at greatest risk.

The majority of snakebite injury victims have poor access to basic health services. Because antivenom is frequently unavailable at healthcare facilities, its price so high, and its quality often dubious, many snakebite victims seek alternative—typically ineffective—treatment from traditional healers.

Snakebite injury patients who do receive proper medical treatment are often forced further into poverty, even destitution. The costs to individuals and their families, communities and their countries are staggering.

Health Action International’s (HAI) Snakebite Project is mobilising global, national and local action on snakebite envenoming. We successfully campaigned for the inclusion of snakebite envenoming on the World Health Organisation’s ‘Category A’ list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) in 2017, and for the adoption of the resolution on snakebite in 2018.

HAI provide technical and advocacy support to the WHO NTD Department, as well as Member States, around the development and implementation of the WHO roadmap.

This policy brief outlines HAI’s efforts to reduce snakebite death and disability, in addition to discussing what WHO member states can do.

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