All about antivenom

India sees 45,000 snakebite deaths every year.

Updated - August 20, 2019 07:20 am IST

Published - August 17, 2019 05:57 pm IST

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), snakebites claim more than 100,000 lives globally. India sees 45,000 snakebite deaths every year, finds the 2011 ‘Million Death Study’. Interestingly, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, came up with much lower figures in the Lok Sabha — 689 deaths only in 2018.

On May 23, WHO launched a new programme — ‘Snakebite Envenoming: A Strategy for Prevention and Control’, the core of which is to bring down the number of snakebite deaths and casualties by 50% before 2030. In 2017, WHO included snakebite in the list of ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ to improve research and funding, and to draw the attention of policy-makers to this silent killer.

Researchers are trying to end snakebite deaths in South Asia. But the lack of research, funding, data, and even the lack of prioritisation by governments are major challenges, finds a recent paper by Ravikar Ralph, researcher with the Department of Internal Medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

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