Tamil Nadu

‘Around 10,000 die of snakebites in T.N. a year’

Medical personnel at primary health centres in rural areas are not adequately equipped to treat snakebites.

Medical personnel at primary health centres in rural areas are not adequately equipped to treat snakebites.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

U.K. varsity professor urges govt. to hold awareness drives

Around 10,000 people die of snakebites in Tamil Nadu each year, according to Sakthivel Vaiyapuri, associate professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, U.K.

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 nearly 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 victims were in the fields. “Many in rural areas do not go to hospitals after being bitten by snakes,” Mr. Vaiyapuri said. Medical personnel at primary health centres, particularly in rural areas, were not adequately equipped to treat snakebites and administer anti-snake venom (ASV), he said.

Indigenous treatments

Many people still prefer visiting home medicine outlets in rural areas, which delays their receiving professional medical treatment.

Mr. Vaiyapuri requested the State government to launch awareness campaigns in rural areas and cover treatment for snakebite under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS). “Many avoid going to hospitals fearing the cost of treatment,” Mr. Vaiyapuri said.

The cost of treatment may sometimes touch ₹1 lakh, according to the study. Mr. Vaiyapuri noted that researchers at the University of Reading had developed a diagnostic kit, which will help detect snakebites in a cost-effective manner. The kit will cost around ₹150 and will be made available in India soon, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:02:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/around-10000-die-of-snakebites-in-tn-a-year/article30428306.ece

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