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Bharat Serums and IHW Council work to create awareness on effective snakebite therapies and management

Our Bureau, Bengaluru
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 16:15 Hrs  [IST]

IHW Council along with Bharat Serums and Vaccines (BSV) organised the second edition of the National Snakebite Summit to discuss about the gaps in snake bite management in India and to suggest remedial reforms.
This was in the eve of International Snakebite Awareness Day observed annually on September 22.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 5 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in up to 2.7 million envenomings. Published reports suggest that between 81,000 and 138,000 deaths and 400,000 amputations and other permanent disabilities occur each year due to snakebite envenoming.
The discussion in the opening session was focussed on ‘Developing the Next Generation of Snakebite Therapy in India’.
M. Jose Louies, IUCN Viper Specialist Group, emphasised on the need of accurate data for compensation and capacity building to tackle discrepancies in numbers and come up with concrete measures in the regard.
In India many cases go unreported as people do not seek medical advice and rely on traditional or local healers, which further deteriorates the situation.
Vinita Srivastava, Advisor, Tribal Health Cell, Ministry of Tribal Health Affairs while taking part in the discussion said that, “Local tribal healers and community leaders, should be trained through training modules being prepared in consultation with experts, to avoid misguidance. Digital technology and apps can be used for better management and co-ordination in such cases.”
 She further stated that, “Health system strengthening should be there, so that states can procure good venoms according to their regional requirements. Rapid transport, referral mechanism and standardized protocols at secondary and tertiary level as ascribed by WHO should be implemented along with regular monitoring.”
The other experts agreed that snake bites are preventable and mass awareness introducing behavioural changes can play a big role in bringing down the incidence of snake bites.
Chetan Raj Singh, vice president-critical care & emergency medicine, Bharat Serums and Vaccines emphasised on the 3 A’s or parameters of treatment protocols including accessibility, awareness and availability of anti -venom to all areas through proper delivery and supply chain. He also added that, “The caprylic acid precipitation method makes our anti- venom the safest option available in the market and ensures no collateral damage to the patient. We are also working on introducing nano filtration processes that will further enhance the quality of our anti-venom.”
The second session titled Snake Bite – “Right Dose, Right Treatment at Right Time in Snakebite Management was focussed on the symptoms, cure and administration of anti-venom in critical cases.
Dr. Omesh Kumar Bharti, state epidemiologist, State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Himachal Pradesh said that, “Standardized medical protocols and availability of the right amount of anti -venom are critical for managing snake bite cases successfully.”
Dr Aldon Fernandes, vice president - research & development (biologicals), Bharat Serums and Vaccines said that, “Collaboration from state governments is inevitable to ensure that cost effective as well as region specific anti-venom reach the target population, once it has been successfully produced.”


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