EDCD prepares national guidelines for snakebite management

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Kathmandu, December 11

Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Services has come up with national guideline for snakebite management in Nepal.

According to EDCD an estimated 20,000 people get  bitten by snakes and 10 per cent of them succumb to snakebites, across the country, every year.

Earlier, there was a protocol on snakebite management published by Ministry of Health in 2003.

The national guideline has explained about kinds of snakes found in Nepal, clinical manifestation of common venomous snakes, diagnosis of snakebite, clinical syndrome of snakebite, first aid treatment for patient of snakebite, referral of snakebite patients to health facilities and their role for snakebite management. The guideline explains about condition of referral, management of snakebite when no anti-venom is available and prevention of snakebite.

“The guideline will provide information on venomous snakes found in Nepal and will help in diagnosis of snakebite and its management. The guideline is intended to ensure standardised, timely and effective management of snake bite in the country. This guideline, I hope will be helpful for all health practitioners, army and police personnel, who have been working in preventing and treating snakebite patients, across the country,” said Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, director Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

The government is committed to achieving the national target, which is aligned with World Health Organisation’s target of 50 per cent reduction in deaths and disabilities due to snakebite by 2030.

“The guideline will help health workers to ensure early intervention and efficient use of anti-venom to save lives,” added Dr Lal. The national guideline is expected to avoid misuse of anti-venom, help early recognition of clinical features of snakebite, reaction to anti-venom, and provide appropriate management including artificial ventilation for patients if required.

Snakebite is life threatening medical emergency and survival of snakebite patients depends largely on appropriate first aid measures and immediate transportation to the nearest health centre where facility to administer anti-snake venom and supportive care is available.

The division has planned to train master trainers to help prevent snakebite in all provinces across the country.

“There will be at least three master trainers in all provinces across the country within this fiscal. These trainers will train other health workers in their respected provinces to help save lives from snakebite,” said Dr Lal.


A version of this article appears in print on December 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.



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