Odisha govt gears up to reduce snakebite deaths. Here’s how

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has geared up to reduce snakebite deaths across the state. A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi to discuss on preparing an action plan to contain huge number of deaths occurring in the state due to snakebite.

After elaborate discussion, the following decisions are taken in the meeting.

i. All snakebite victims must be brought to the nearest health institutions at the earliest for medical examination and administering Anti-Snake Venom (ASV), if required to save their lives.

No one should avail treatment by quacks. This message has to be widely circulated through intensive awareness programmes.

ii. Massive awareness campaign shall be taken up by Health & Family Welfare, Forest & Environment, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water, Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti, Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment and other Departments involving their field level workers.

The Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) shall take steps to sensitize the farmers during Farmers’ Trainings.

iii. Special attention shall be given to districts and blocks where more number of snakebite deaths has occurred.

iv. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on Dos and Don’ts in case of snakebite shall be developed by the Forest & Environment Department both in Odia and English within 7 days.

The Health Department will take steps to print adequate copies for wide circulation.

v. Sufficient quantity of Anti Venom Serum shall be kept in hospitals especially in all Community Health Centres (CHCs)/ Public Health Centres (PHCs) where large number of snakebite deaths has occurred.

vi. Required number of 108-Ambulance service shall be made available in major affected blocks for shifting the snakebite patients to the nearest health institution.

vii. Health & Family Welfare Department will ensure availability of one MBBS Medical Officer (M.O.) in PHCs in highly snakebite-prone areas.

Analysis indicates that as many as 1716 people have lost their lives due to snakebites during the last 3 years 2015-16 to 2017-18. While 446 people died due to snakebite in 2015-16, the toll in 2016-17 and 2017-18 remained 574 and 696 respectively.

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