News / Africa

Nigeria Plans Hospital Exclusively for Snakebites

A Naja Ashei, a giant spitting cobra measuring nearly nine feet and carrying enough venom to kill at least 15 people, is seen in this picture released by WildlifeDirect. A Naja Ashei, a giant spitting cobra measuring nearly nine feet and carrying enough venom to kill at least 15 people, is seen in this picture released by WildlifeDirect.
x
A Naja Ashei, a giant spitting cobra measuring nearly nine feet and carrying enough venom to kill at least 15 people, is seen in this picture released by WildlifeDirect.
A Naja Ashei, a giant spitting cobra measuring nearly nine feet and carrying enough venom to kill at least 15 people, is seen in this picture released by WildlifeDirect.
Heather Murdock
In some towns in northern Nigeria, it is estimated that hundreds of people die each year from snakebites.  Health officials blame the deaths on the large variety of snakes and lack of modern facilities in the area.  They are preparing to build a hospital that will exclusively treat snakebites.

Snakebite victims in northern Nigeria are usually the people who have the least access to health care - subsistence farmers in remote villages. Many of these villages have no roads, and during the rainy season, some are completely cut off from the outside world as ravines fill with water.
 
And it’s the rainy season when the snakes come out, said Rhoda Bassey, Rotary International’s representative from the Snake Heaven Project - an organization that is working to make snakebite treatment more available in northern Nigeria.
 
“During the dry season, at that time the snakes go hiding," Bassey said.  "But once the first rain comes they start coming out and during the rainy season its very bad.”
 
As many as 16 victims from across northern Nigeria arrive daily at a Gombe state hospital to get free anti-venom during the rainy season, about eight months a year, according to Bassey. Many others, she said, die in their villages or on the way to the hospital.
 
Normally a single dose of anti-venom costs about $125. And some people need more than one dose to survive.  But the hospital, with only 20 beds, is not nearly big enough for all the victims, Bassey said.
 
“They can get the treatment anywhere but this is the only clinic that gives free. It was started by missionaries, but when the missionaries left 30 years back they handed it over to the government and it was a 20-bedded ward," she said.  "And like I told you, by the time we came into it they still had that 20-bedded.  Not even one bed added to it.”

The Snake Heaven Project is an effort to expand the hospital and the government has purchased and cleared the land to build a 122-bed ward exclusively for snakebite patients.  
 
According to he World Health Organization, as many as 94,000 people die worldwide from snakebites every year, mostly in rural areas of Africa and Asia. Besides killing victims, it says, snakebites can cause permanent physical and psychological damage.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid