Two hundred and fifty victims of snake bite have reportedly died in the last three weeks in Plateau and Gombe, following an acute scarcity of snake anti-venom drugs in the country.
- The figure represents the number of confirmed deaths from three snake treatment centres – General Hospital, Kaltungo, Ali Mega Pharmacy, Gombe and Comprehensive Medical Centre, Zamko, Plateau State.
- A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the three medical outfits, met other victims in critical situations, with some of them left on bare floors as the doctors said they were helpless without the anti-venom.
- NAN reports that the snake anti-venom drugs – Echitab Plus ICP polyvalent and Echitab G monovalent – had not been supplied to the country since August, throwing the treatment centres into crisis after the last vials were used up in the first week of October.
- Medics, who spoke with NAN at the three treatment centres, said that the cases of snake bites were usually very common during the harvest season.
- “We receive an average of 50 victims every day. Some arrive here in very critical conditions and we just have to watch them die because we are helpless,” Abubakar Abdullahi Aliyu, Managing Director, Aliyu Mega Pharmacy, told NAN in Gombe.
- “Between August and October, we received 750 victims. We were given 700 vials of the anti-venom on August 31, but we exhausted them before October. Many people are just dying. It is a major crisis,” he stated.
- “We have tried the Indian anti-venom, but it does not elicit much response. Sometimes, we give six vials and more to a patient, but the effect will be minimal. If we had Echitab drugs, one dose is enough to cure a patient,” he said.
- The pharmacist urged the Federal Government to promptly step in to assist Echitab Study Group, the outfit coordinating the supply and distribution of the Echitab drugs, so as to make them available.