Govt policy to blame for rise in snake bite deaths

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, Thori
Govt policy to blame for rise in snake bite deaths

Apr 7, 2015-

At least three snake bite victims lost their lives within a year in Thori VDC due to the government policy that bars distribution of anti-snake venom to health facilities below the Primary Health Centre.

According to senior Assistant Health Worker Ashok Raut, despite being trained to administer the anti-venom, he cannot do so as the government policy only allows administration of the anti-venom by a medical doctor.

Stating his helplessness, Raut further said that he cannot even keep the anti-venom at the health post by flouting government rules. Moreover, the anti-snake venoms have to be stored in cold storage. “But as there are no such storage facilities in Thori, storing anti-snake venom is out of the question,” Raut said.  

In the absence of the anti-snake venom, local victims of snake bites have to be rushed to Birgunj, which is located 70 kilometres away, and some lose their lives on the way.

“Most of them lose their lives while on their way to the hospital,” said local Pradhumna Gautam.

 Moreover, due to the appalling condition of the road connecting Thori VDC, even if one manages to get an ambulance it takes at least two hours to reach Birgunj. This delay in reaching the hospital is often the cause behind the death of the victims, complained local Prakash Khanal.

According to Khanal, they have witnessed a rise in the number of king cobra sightings with the advent of summer season. Locals have often been bitten while asleep, cleaning the house or conducting other daily chores. Likewise, as Thori VDC is close to Parsa Wildlife Reserve and Chitwan National Park, snakes easily find their way into the settlement.

“While locals are aware about the need for the conservation of the king cobras, the tendency of people killing them is on the rise due to the perceived threat to their life and well-being,” Khanal said.

Published: 08-04-2015 08:48

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