snakebite cases in tarai

  • Care eludes patients as hospitals lack antivenom
snakebite cases in tarai

Jun 12, 2014-

Two people died of snakebite in Nawalparasi district in the past one week. Sita Thaten of Seheri, who was rushed to Bharatpur Hospital after being bitten by a snake on Saturday, was declared dead there while eight-year-old Aman Bastakoti of Narayani VDC-8 died on Tuesday.

Both of them lost lives in the lack of timely treatment, local people said. Snakebite cases increase particularly in the Tarai districts in the summer season.

However, the perennial problem of health institutions lacking anti-snake venom serum often complicates the matter. The serum is provided free at government hospitals.

Shesh Sapkota, store chief at Bharatpur Hospital, said the health facility has only 190 phials of antivenom in stock at present while, he said, it requires 35 to 110 phials to treat a snakebite patient.

“The stock may hardly last 15 to 20 days,” he said, adding that the medical superintendent at the hospital has left for Kathmandu to inquire about the supply. The hospital is providing services to snakebite patients from Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Makawanpur, Nawalparasi, Rupendehi, Gorkha, Tanahun and Lamjung districts. Anti-snake venom expert Dr Bijaya Poudel said though the number of snakebite cases is almost similar in the past few years, the death rate has decreased. Out of the 150 to 200 people stung by venomous snakes across the country every year, 30 lost their lives in the past, while the figure has fallen to five to seven at present, he said.

Poudel said they have been providing training to people in districts on measures to prevent snakebite and that the move is bearing fruit. Officials at the Nawalparasi District Hospital said they receive two to three snakebite patients on a daily basis. They, however, said they are forced to refer the patients to other hospital due to the lack of antivenom. Ram Naresh Raya, in-charge of the emergency department of the hospital, said the health facility has just 24 phials of the serum at present. In Kapilvastu, the Gorusinge-based Snakebite Treatment Centre, being run with the help of Nepal Army’s Kaligunj Battalion, is in short of the serum, said Nil Kumar Shrestha, chairman of the centre. It received 150 phials of the serum a month ago.

Ananta Sharma, medical superintendent at the Taulihawa Hospital, said the health facility received 50 phials of the serum from the District Public Health Office a month ago but it has just 20 phials at present. Dr Kaushar Alam at Rautahat District Hospital said they receive five to six snakebite patients on a daily basis but are forced to refer them to private hospitals due to the lack of the serum. He said the hospital requires 1,000 vials of the serum in a season. The Makwanpur District Hospital also does not have the serum. Bhola Chaulagain of the District Public Health Office, said the Department of Health Services has not allocated quota to the hospital saying that there are no venomous snakes in the district.

Three die in Bara

Bijaya Kusawaha, chief of the emergency ward at Kalaiya Hospital, said 130 patients of snakebite visited the hospital for treatment in the past two months. Three of them, according to Kusawaha, died while the others returned home after treatment. Hospital authorities said they have only 30 vials of antivenom in stock.

(With inputs from Bimal Khatiwada in Chitwan, Bechu Gaud in Nawalparasi, Manoj Poudel in Kapilvastu, Pratap Bista in Makwanpur, Shankar Acharya in Parsa and Shiva Puri in Rautahat)

Published: 13-06-2014 10:11

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