By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
In Nigeria, about 2,000 people die from snake related complications annually.
This is even as Nigeria records an average of between 15,000 to 20,000 cases of snake bites every.
Also, between 1,700 and 2,000 people in the country have their leg or arm amputated to save their lives after snakebite every.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed this at a media briefing to mark the 2021 International Snakebite Awareness Day in Abuja, on Monday.
The Minister further disclosed that approximately 5.4 million people are bitten by a snake, of whom 2.7 million are injected with venom every year.
He, however, regretted that Snakebite poisoning has for a long been a public health problem in Nigeria, especially in rural areas.
“According to a more recent survey conducted in 2013 by Habib et all, snakebites in Nigeria occur at 497 cases per 100,000 people. The Carpet Viper is the one responsible for most, about 90% of bites and 60% of snakebite deaths. Nigeria records an average of 15,000 – 20,000 cases of snakebite every year, with about 2,000 people killed and between 1,700 and 2,000 people whose leg or arm is amputated to save their lives after snakebite,” Sen. Mamora further said.
On when the snake bite cases become more pronounced, the Minister said: “The cases increased recently as a result of excessive rainfall, leading to more morbidity and deaths connected with inadequate quantities of Antisnake-venom.
“States with the most cases of Snakebite in Nigeria are Gombe, Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kogi, Kebbi, Oyo, Benue and Taraba.”
While lamenting that snake bite cases have reached an epidemic proportion in Nigeria, the Minister revealed that: “About 5 million people in the world are bitten every year by snakes. Up to 2.5 million people that suffer poisoning or envenomation.
“At least a hundred thousand of them died from the bites and about 300,000 amputated or suffer other permanent disabilities caused by snake bites.
“In Africa, about 1 million snake bites occur yearly with half of them requiring treatment as Nigeria supports efforts to bring attention to snakebite and envenomation and the process leading to recognition of snakebite as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).”
Speaking, the Programme Manager of Snake Bite Envenomation Programme in Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Fatai Oyediran, said that it was costly to treat a snakebite patient in Nigeria.
According to him, it costs between N45,000 to N50,000 to acquire each doses of injection and a patient would be needing three antivenom injection to properly heal.
He, however called for support for local manufacturing of antivenom injection to make treatment affordable, available, accessible and cost effective for the common man who cannot afford to pay when the accident happens.