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Current Affairs

WHO unveils new Strategy to tackle snakebite

Date: 24 May 2019 Tags: International Organizations

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled new strategy for prevention and control of snakebite envenoming. It also has warned that dearth of antivenoms could soon spark a “public health emergency”.

WHO strategy

  • It aims at 50% reduction in mortality and disability caused by snakebite envenoming by 2030. To achieve this target, it proposes to significantly boost production of quality antivenoms.
  • It also seeks at ensuring access to treatment such as anti-venoms and ancillary medical care by increasing number of manufacturers by 25% .
  • It also proposes creating a global antivenom stockpile and calls for reshaping the market and employ greater regulatory control.
  • It calls for integration of snakebite treatment and response into national health plans in affected countries, including better training of health personnel and educating communities.
  • It also seeks to encourage research on new treatments, diagnostics and health device breakthroughs.

Background

According to WHO figures, every year, nearly 3 million people are bitten by poisonous snakes, with estimated 81,000-138,000 deaths and 4,00,000 cases of permanent disability. Snake bite is neglected public health issue in many tropical and subtropical countries and most of these occur in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Children are worse affected due to snake bites. Most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making High quality snake antivenoms accessible. In 2017, WHO had formally categorised “snakebite envenoming” as Neglected Tropical Disease.