WHO unveiled a new strategy to tackle global snakebite “Emergency”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled a new strategy to dramatically cut deaths and injuries from snakebites, and also warned a lack of anti-venoms could soon spark a “public health emergency”. Each year, nearly three million people are bitten by poisonous snakes, with an estimated 81,000-138,000 deaths. The aim of the strategy is to cut snakebite-related deaths and disabilities in half by 2030. An important part of the strategy is to significantly boost production of quality anti-venoms. The strategy also called for integrating snakebite treatment and response into national health plans in affected countries, including better training of health personnel and educating communities. Snake venom can cause paralysis that stops breathing, bleeding disorders that can lead to fatal haemorrhage, irreversible kidney failure and tissue damage that can cause permanent disability and limb loss. Most snakebite victims live in the world’s tropical and poorest regions, and children are worse affected due to their smaller body size. In a new report, the UN health agency urged the international community to take steps to address the problem, which it warned had long been dangerously under-estimated and neglected.