Karnataka initiates action plan to tackle a slithering challenge

Serpent strategy
Last Updated : 05 May 2024, 22:26 IST
Last Updated : 05 May 2024, 22:26 IST

Follow Us :


Bengaluru: Karnataka is likely the first state to have begun working on an action plan to improve reporting of snakebite cases.

This follows the launch of the National Action Plan for prevention of snakebite envenoming on March 12, which directed states to draw up their plans to halve deaths and disabilities due to snakebites by 2030.

State Health Commissioner D Randeep noted that the State Action Plan for Snakebite Envenoming (SAPSE) is an inter-departmental coordination activity for timely management of snakebite victims.

DH reviewed a draft document by the health department which outlines the preparation measures for SAPSE. The plan has two strategies: To prevent snakebites by increasing awareness among people, and effectively manage them by early transportation of the patient to the nearest health facility, identification of early signs of envenomation, prompt administration with anti-snake venom (ASV), management of complications and rehabilitation of disabled victims.

The panchayats and the departments of animal husbandry, education, labour, finance and police are the various stakeholders involved. SAPSE will be jointly prepared by the state nodal officers of these departments according to the needs of vulnerable population groups.

“We are planning to conduct a workshop for all stakeholders at the earliest possible date after the elections,” Randeep said.

After the state’s second phase of polling on May 7, the Karnataka State Medical Supplies Corporation Limited will also resume its process of procuring essential stocks for anti-snake venom, said Chidananda S Vatare, Managing Director.

ASV is provided free of cost to all snakebite victims in government health facilities.

In February, the state government declared snakebite as a “notifiable disease”, mandating all government and private healthcare facilities to compulsorily notify such cases.

Besides conducting capacity-building activities for district-level health officers, the department also issued a circular to all government health facilities, including selected Community Health Centres, notifying them as snakebite treating centres and outlining the guidelines.

This has led to a rise in reported numbers. The state reported 18 deaths and 2,316 cases until April this year, compared to last year’s total of 6,596 cases and 19 deaths. Although reporting has improved, it is not “at a 100%”, because of underreporting by some medical colleges and private hospitals, Randeep said.

Deaths due to snakebites depend on the amount of venom injected by the snake. Patients with renal and cardiac disorders and those on blood thinners can also develop early complications.

The health department notes there isn’t a proven link between rising temperatures and an increase in the incidence of snakebite cases but identifies that the incidence is greater during planting and harvesting season. Last year, Karnataka saw the highest number of snakebites between May and November, averaging about 737 cases a month. However, deaths remained at three or lower in these months.

Published 05 May 2024, 22:26 IST

Deccan Herald is on WhatsApp Channels | Join now for Breaking News & Editor's Picks

Follow us on :

Follow Us