‘Around 10,000 people die of snakebites in T.N. every year'

Around 10,000 people die of snakebites in Tamil Nadu every year, said Sakthivel Vaiyapuri, Associate Professor at School of Pharmacy, University of Reading in the U.K., here on Saturday.

Mr. Vaiyapuri led a research team that conducted a study on the health and socio-economic impacts of snakebites in rural parts of the State by surveying almost 30,000 households.

The research paper, titled “Snakebite and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Rural Population of Tamil Nadu, India”, was published in 2013, he said. According to the study, snakebites disproportionately affect agricultural workers as 79 % of the people who suffered snakebites were in the fields.

Many do not go to hospitals in rural areas after bitten by snakes, Mr. Vaiyapuri said.

Medical personnel at primary health centres, particularly in rural parts, are not equipped enough to treat snakebites and administer anti-snake venom, Mr. Vaiyapuri said. Many people still preferred visiting home medicine outlets in rural areas, which delayed receiving professional medical treatment.

He requested the State government to carry out an awareness campaigns in the rural areas and to cover treatment for snakebite under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. “Many avoid going to hospitals fearing the cost of treatment,” Mr. Vaiyapuri said, as the treatment cost might sometimes touch ₹ 1 lakh, according to the study.

Mr. Vaiyapuri said researchers at University of Reading had developed a diagnostic kit that would help detect snakebites in a cost-effective manner. The kit would cost around ₹150 and would be made available in India soon, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:32:35 PM |

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