WHO: Snakebite envenoming - A strategy for prevention and control

10 May, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

From WHO. Comment from me below.


Around 81 000 to 138 000 people die each year because of snake bites, and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities are caused by snakebites annually. WHO released the executive summary for a global strategy to reduce by 50% the numbers of snakebite induced deaths and disabilities by 2030 [https://www.who.int/snakebites/resources/who-cds-ntd-nzd-2019.03/en/]. The full strategy will be launched on 23 May 2019 at the World Health Assembly.

The strategy focuses on a combination of community empowerment and engagement, improved access to safe and effective treatments, measures that strengthen health systems and move countries closer to achieving universal health coverage, and greater cooperation and coordination between stakeholders in countries and across regions.


The executive summary of the Strategy says: 'Reducing the problem starts with improving community education about the risk and encouraging them to seek health care and ensuring intensified case management for every patient. First aid, effective, affordable treatment provided by well-trained medical staff and rehabilitation will allow many victims to return more quickly to good health and productive lives.'

I hope that the strategy to be launched on 23 May 2019 will be explicit: Community education is needed to ensure that people go directly to a health centre and not to traditional healers. This is not mentioned in the executive summary. Too many people die as a result of delays in accessing modern medicine, and many of these delays are due to time lost while receiving ineffective treatment from traditional healers.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org