Experts gather in Kathmandu to discuss challenges of snakebites

Published On: August 2, 2019 04:30 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Aug 2: An international workshop is scheduled to kick off in Kathmandu on Friday with a view to discuss the issues related to the challenges posed by snakebites in Nepal.

The organizers claim that the two-day event “High-Level Meeting and Workshop on Snakebites in Nepal, the Challenges and the Needs” is aimed at creating a situation in Nepal where no one dies of snakebites.

In the event, international as well as national experts are scheduled to present papers on the issue. Professor David Williams, head of the Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU) in the Department of Pharmacology, will present a paper on 'The work of World Health Organization and Global Snakebite Initiative” and Professor Dr Sanjib Kumar Sharma, Head of Internal Medicine, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) Dharan, Nepal, will present his paper on “The State of Snakebite in Nepal”, according to a statement issued by the organizers.

The event is being organized jointly by the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Ministry of Health and Population and the Society of Internal Medicine of Nepal (SIMON).

Various other experts will present papers on a wide range of subjects such as Burden of Snakebite: The community based studies in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh; Strategic interventions to reduce snakebite incidence and increase access to effective health care; how to reduce the snakebites in Nepal and South East Asia; Implementation of WHO Strategy to implement snakebite prevention and management.

The organizers said Nepal was selected for the event as snakebite is one of the most neglected public health issues among the poor rural communities living in Nepal's tropical Terai region due to the high population density and widespread agricultural activities that bring people in contact with snakes. “This region is home to several venomous snake species and there are numerous fatalities every year due to snake bites. Despite this, the country as a whole lacks a functional snakebite control program,” the statement said.

A study showed that 39,993 people were victimized by snakebites in Nepal's Tarai lowlands. Of them 66.4 percent are women. According to the study, snakebite case-fatality ratio was found to be 6.62 in Nepal. It said about 10 percent received some injection/antivenom and that only 50.4 percent were taken to medical facilities.

The study was conducted jointly by B P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal; Division of Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), Switzerland; Institute of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland; Medical Department, Médecins sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland; Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva (UNIGE), Geneva, Switzerland; Internal Medicine Department, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS), Dharan, Nepal; Cameroon Society of Epidemiology (CASE); Centre International de Recherche, Enseignement, et Soins (CIRES).

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