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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid