9 November 2017

Nigeria: Senate Wants Ministry to Provide Anti-Venom for Snake Bite Victims

The Senate has asked Federal Ministry of Health to provide adequate anti-venom to treat victims of snake bike in the snake belt states of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Plateau.

The assembly made the request against the background of the death of 91 victims in the states.

It also mandated the ministry to initiate steps toward the establishment of local production of the anti-snake venom.

These resolutions followed the presentation of a motion on "Alarming Increase in the rate of Deaths of Victims of Snake Bites due to Scarcity of Anti-Snake Venom", sponsored by Sen. Joshua Lidani (PDP-Gombe State).

He noted the alarming rate of deaths of victims of snake bites in the states due to the unavailability of anti-snake venom.

"Within the past three weeks alone, 91 victims have died as a result of inability to get treatment," Lidani said.

He said there were only three snake bite treatment centres established by the Federal Government in Gombe, Plateau and Taraba states catering for numerous victims of snake bites.

"The Federal Ministry of Health which used to supply the anti-venom to the three centres stopped doing so since last year.

"The Gombe State Government had been supplying the anti-snake venom worth N8.5 million every quarter to the treatment centre at Kaltungo but because of the numerous patients coming from the neighbouring states, the quantity has been inadequate.

"Patients have resorted to buying from pharmaceutical shops at exorbitant rates," he said.

The legislator, however, expressed concern that all anti-snake venoms were imported into the country as there was no local manufacturer.

Contributing, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba) said periodically lives were lost from snake bites but were not reported.

"I think Nigeria has attained a level where we should be able to find solutions to this either through scientific research or provide sufficient medicine that will attend to this problem once it comes up otherwise we are being embarrassed daily.

"We should adopt a proactive measure to tackle this matter.

"As a parliament, we owe it a duty to attend to this and ensure we provide a long lasting solution to bring to an end the threat posed to lives of citizens who reside in these areas."

In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said the National Assembly was in support of any initiative that would protect the lives and property of citizens.

"It is important we begin to develop technologies that will eradicate the snakes completely and produce some of the medications.

"We need to spend some money to ensure that snakes are eradicated," Ekweremadu said.


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