Medical expert decries late reporting of snakebite cases


Principal Medical Officer, Snakebite Treatment Hospital, Kaltungo in Gombe State, has decried late reporting of snakebite cases to the hospital by patients’ relatives.

He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday at Kaltungo town in Kaltungo Local Government Area of the state.According to Hamman, prompt and timely referral of snakebite cases will ease treatment and lessen fatalities.He identified late referral of cases as one of the major challenges facing the facility, adding that early reporting of snakebite cases would reduce fatalities, complications and save more lives.

“Some of them spent 15 to 20 days at home before reporting snakebite cases to the hospital.“A 15-year-old girl who was brought to the hospital last week, spent 15 days at home before reporting the snakebite case.“By the time they brought her, we could not saved her life because it was late, the venom had affected her organs.

“Most of the snakebite patients are peasant farmers and cattle rearers who are far from social amenities. They treats snakebite with concoction capable of causing more havoc to the patient,” he said.

He urged patients to ensure prompt referral of cases for effective clinical analysis to establish whether the bite was from snake, squirrel or something else.Hamman said that 28 out of the 30 snakebite deaths recorded in 2023, reported to the hospital late.He said the hospital recorded 62 snakebites in January, representing an average of two cases per day as against eight or nine cases during the peak period.

He attributed the drop in cases to the cold weather when snake move to pronation which make them less active.“Usually from November to January the snake bite is less because of the weather.“The reason it extends to February, the weather has entirely changed, we are still experiencing cold in February,” he explained.

According to him, the facility has stock of anti-snake venom injection that will last to September, adding that it received supplies of 150 vials from the Federal Ministry of Health, and 1,200 others from the North East Development Commission.


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