India Snake Bite Initiative

INDIA SNAKE BITE INITIATIVE

FIGHTING THE MILLION SNAKE BITES  & SAVING LIVESSinginawa Conservation Foundation

Snake-bites claim about 45,000 to 50,000 lives across India every year - about 125 people per day!Being a country with a large proportion living in rural India depending on agricultural activities, the encounters with snakes are part of their rural folk’s life. The disheartening fact is that most of these deaths could have been avoided and lives saved.

 

Project Pithora : Minimise snake bites and snake bite deaths in rural India. 

Snake bite treatment at Pithora

As a civil society group, we would like to participate in the crusade against snake bite deaths across the country. To initiate it as a pilot project, we have selected a project area to work.

  • Pithora: It is small town in rural India in the state of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh is one of the lesser developed states of India which is located in the central Indian region. The city Pithora is surrounded by villages, with more than 90% of people depending on agriculture related activities. Most of them belong to the tribal or marginalised communities. Education level is poor and access to medical facilities is also below standards. < Map of India showing Pithora>
  • Anjali Health Centre: It is a small hospital with less basic facilities; a maximum of 20 beds and with a doctor. Dr. Sr. Siji is working in the hospital since 2000. She attends more than hundred snake bite cases every year. The hospital has been successfully treating patients, and is already gaining a name in the rural area as the only place where snake bite can be treated. Hence, the number of patients coming to the hospital is increasing every year. There are a lot of victims who do not reach the hospital too. 

Challenges:

The main challenge faced is the timely arrival of the patients to the hospital, availability of anti-venom in enough quantity and a ventilator as the most wanted life supporting system.

Zero  Snake Bite Death @ Pithora  - Our Pilot project                       

The target groups will be trained to avoid snake bite by taking precautions such as avoiding sleeping on the floor, proper storage of food grains to avoid rodents in the house, use of flash lights at night etc. We also will identify a point person in each village, who will be trained to identify commonly found snakes, perform first aid and how to coordinate the transportation of the victim to the hospital with minimal loss of time. Outreach materials such as posters, stickers will be made in regional language and will circulate around to ensure that people know how to deal with snake bites.

The hospital is already fighting the snake bite battle and Team Indian Snakes has joined hands with them by ensuring that they have steady supply of anti-venom directly from the manufacturer, capacity building of the doctors in snake bite management, provision of a ventilator as a life supporting system etc. We are happy to report that so far (December 2016) there have been practically zero deaths in the Centre. All vials for 2016 were generously donated by the Singinawa Conservation Foundation and they have committed to life long support for AHC as well to make sure that there is never a shortage of supply of anti-venom at the centre!                                   

 

Kanha Project  : Creating Awarenss  & Mitigating human - Snake Conflict in Rural India

 

snake bite workshop We started a project to create awareness among the rural public at Baihar District of Madhya Pradesh. The famous Kanha Tiger reserve situated in this district which has most of it populations live in small villages. The area has a good population of venomous and non-Venomous snakes and snake bite do occur in the region. Most of the rural population belongs to tribal communities and they practice traditional healing methods which does not cure venomous snakebites. The aim of the project is to connect with these communities in multiple ways and ensure that they reach hospitals when a snake bite happen. The project is undertaken with the support of Singinawa Conservation Foundation. 

Education and awareness  : Creating awareness about snakes and snake bite is the most important activity to undertake in a rural Indian setup.  We started the project with a survey in the year of 2016 to understand the perception of people towards snakes and snake bites.  Since then, the team has undertaken education and aware

ness sessions in schools, public functions & Health camps about snakes and snake bites.  We have a local resident - Mr. Sudarshan who   who is also a temporary employee with the forest department who is also a rescuer doing these workshops interacting with the locals on various aspects of snakes and snake bites. 

Snake Rescue :  Under the project, he is given resource support to do snake rescues in the  project area. During the monsoon season, he used to get multiple calls from people about snakes entering into their houses and he reaches out to ensure that the snake is safely removed from the house and released in a suitable area.  The area has Common cobra, Russell’s viper, Banded Krait as the common venomous snakes and these rescue operations are good opportunities to spread awareness about snakes and snake bites.  Since the project started over a hundred snakes rescued and released in to their natural habitat.