By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – In an effort aimed at containing the rampant incidents of snakebites in some communities in Plateau state – North central Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health has donated large quantities of Anti-snake venom (ASV) to the state government to salvage the situation.
The affected communities are in Kanke, Panshin and Shendam Local Government Areas of the state.
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole while presenting the drugs at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) recently, stated that the donation was in response to the people’s outcry and as part of the Federal government’s intervention effort in stemming the scourge which had been ravaging the region since August 2015.
Statements by the Health Ministry’s Director of press, Boade Akinola noted that, the Minister was represented by an Assistant director, Fatai Oyediran in company of other medical experts and environmental scientists from the Ministry; explaining that, the team visited the state to confirm the complain, assess the current status of the snakebites and carry out an awareness campaign aimed at raising the bar in terms of prevention and control of the scourge.
It also added that, a Survey to determine the most effective ways to control the incident within each locality would also be carried out by the experts.
In his response, the Plateau state commissioner of Health, Dr. Kuden Kamshak Deyin commended the Federal government for its intervention and assistance to the state. He further called on the government to decentralize the Zamko JUTH treatment center and upgrade it to a research center so as to reposition it to handle more complex health challenge.
The Permanent Secretary, Plateau state Ministry of Health, Abel Hamila Guyatan in a remark appealed to the Medical experts to do justice to the snakebite challenge, adding that, those areas are snake endemic areas.
Also, the Medical Superintendent of the Zamko treatment center, Dr. Titus Dajel, in a remarks revealed that the center treated between 80-120 snakebite cases per month and sometimes 5 cases were reported daily particularly during farming seasons.
He opined that the Federal government should encourage local drug manufacturers so that the much needed ASV could be made available, affordable and assessable by patients who were mainly local farmers.
He also lamented poor power supply and lack of adequate storage facility at the center for storing drugs at the center.