- Snakes reportedly bite tens of thousands of people across Africa every year
- In Kenya, many victims die or lose their limbs because they have no access to antidotes
- The situation is reportedly dire in remote areas of Kenya. Hardest hit counties revealed
Kenya is in deep crisis. Snakes are killing people because there are no effective antidotes to treat the victims of venomous bites.
Hospital officials say about 10 cases of snake bites are reported every month in Malindi (city in Kenya) alone. Though some people survive, others don’t.
Yes, Malindi reportedly receives antivenom from India, but doctors here don’t use it. Reason? It simply doesn’t work.
So every time there is a victim of snake bite, the doctors order supply from a private snake Farm located 30 minutes’ drive away.
“It would be very important to us and the patients if at all we could be having antivenom in the facility. But again, due to the reason that the antivenom is very expensive, they decided to keep it themselves there. So it has really been quite a challenge,” says Moses Rimba, Clinical Officer.
At the Bio Ken Snake Farm, one of the directors can be seen extracting venom from a cobra. The Farm mostly supplies its vaccine produce to South Africa where it’s used for research and production. The Farm then buys the antivenom back from South Africa to supply to several hospitals in Kenya.
Kilifi County reportedly has the highest cases of snake bites and deaths. The County has some of Africa’s most venomous snakes. Puff Adder is one of the most common snakes in this area.
A victim of Puff Adder bite can die within three days. That’s why having an effective antidote and getting it closer to the people who need it is important.
In Africa as a whole, tens of thousands of snake bite victims die or lose their limbs annually. Yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies this as a neglected tropical disease. Even more disturbing, only about 20,000 vial of antivenom are produced annually.
“What has happened on the negative side is there is a lot of either inappropriate or substandard antivenom that have come into the market to fill the void. It doesn’t make sense to bring in antivenom here that is not made from snakes that are here,” says Roy Jon Ttaylor, one of Bio Ken Snake Farm managers.
People who live in the remote regions of Kenya and who are far from health facilities are the most affected by this snake bite crisis.
Watch video of how snakes are killing people in Kenya because there is no antidote: