Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal government on Thursday, confirmed that no fewer than 20, 000 cases of snakebites were recorded annually, with 2,000 deaths and 1,700 to 2,000 people amputated due to snakebite annually.
It also confirmed that Gombe State has highest record of snakebite in Nigeria, while Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Plateau, Enugu, Kogi, Kebbi, Oyo, Benue and Taraba states also have high cases of snakebites especially during planting and harvesting seasons.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who addressed journalists on international snakebite awareness day in Abuja, said the increasing cases of snakebite in Nigeria has attracted global attention, hence the launched of several awareness and sensitisation packages in response.
The minister said the 2019 awareness programme would focus on collaboration with communities through prevention, increased usage of treatment, training, and facilitation, as well as utilisation of research outcome.
Director, Public Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, confirmed that measures taken by the ministry as regard snakebites had been effective as evident in response to reported cases.
She disclosed that Federal Ministry of Health collaborated with some foreign research institutions to produce monovalent ASV, Echitab-G and Echitab Plus, and they have been effective in responding to snakebites.
The provost, Echitab study group, Abdul Nasidi, confirmed that, for now, there were no vaccines against snakebites.
He, however, advocated continuous research to improve on anti-venoms currently being used to attend to cases of snakebite.