Government Launches Action Plan To Reduce Snakebite Fatalities

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Bhubaneswar: With snakebite claiming more human lives than any other form disaster, Odisha government has woken up to launch an action plan to bring down the snakebite fatalities.

The snake bites, which has been declared as a ‘State Specific Disaster’ by Odisha government from April 1, 2015, claim close to 600 human lives every year, according to statistics released by Special relief commissioner’s office.

The snakebite human toll is incidentally higher than other form of disaster-related human death in the State.

As per reports received from the district Collectors across 30 districts, as many as 1716 snakebite deaths have occurred in the State during the last 3 years from 2015 to 2018.

Case of snakebite deaths have also registered sharp rise over the years. While 446 people died in 2015, the human toll had gone up to 574 in 2016 year. It has jumped up to 696 in 2017-18 year, according to officials.

Odisha accounted for 4689 human deaths in different disasters, of which snakebite death amounted to 1761, 37% of total disaster-induced death registered in the state. No other disaster claimed as many human lives like the snakebite toll since past three years.

Nearly 85% of snakebite deaths occurred during the six months from May to October showing a definite correlation with rain and flood. Highest casualties have occurred in July (314), followed by August (306), June (281), September (253), May (156) and October (154). Lowest snakebite deaths have occurred in January.

The Health & Family Welfare, Forest & Environment, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water, Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti, Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment have been directed to launch awareness campaign to sensitize people and educate them on the ways and means to save snakebite victims, according to officials.

All snakebite victims must be brought to nearest health institution at the earliest for medical examination and administering Anti-Snake Venom (ASV), if required to save their lives. They must not avail treatment by quacks. This message has to be widely circulated through intensive awareness programmes, said the officials.

In a high level meeting held yesterday, emphasis was laid to gear up the government machinery snakebite-prone districts and blocks.

The Forest & Environment Department has been directed to develop Information, Education Communication (IEC) Materials on Do’s and Don’ts on snakebites for wide circulation

Adequate quantity of Anti Venom Serum shall be kept in hospitals especially in all CHCs/ PHCs where large number of snakebite deaths has occurred. Required number of 108-Ambulance service shall be made available in major affected blocks for shifting the snakebite patients to the nearest health institution.

The health department has been asked to ensure availability of at least one doctor in Primary Health Centress in the highly snakebite-prone areas.

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