By doing #theBiteThing, you can support HAI in putting an end to this debilitating public health crisis.
More than 125,000 people are dying from snakebites every year in sub-Saharan and Africa and East Asia, with 5 times as many severely disabled and left in crippling debt, unable to support their families. This death toll from snakebites is as much as one-quarter the total number of deaths caused by malaria in a year. These figures are also widely believed to be 70% higher because accurate numbers are not kept in hospitals, and most snakebite victims don’t even make it to health facilities to be counted.
People don’t know how to respond safely and quickly to avoid losing their lives and limbs. When victims reach the facilities, safe and effective antivenoms aren’t stocked. Doctors aren’t trained how to treat it. Families lose children and bread winning parents. They go into severe lifelong debt if they’re lucky enough to get the treatment they need. This is a global crisis, but it’s HUGELY neglected, because it mainly effects the poorest of the poor, out in rural farmlands.
But there is hope! The only real treatment, antivenom, already EXISTS and has for decades. So this isn’t about finding a cure; it’s just about getting the right treatment to those who are dying needlessly without it.
This burden is so widespread that we lobbied the World Health Organization (WHO) to categorise it as a top priority neglected tropical disease and to adopt a resolution where WHO and member states commit to act. Even after the landmark classification came through, subsequent awareness and funding has not followed. Snakebite remains the most neglected tropical disease in the world. With your help, we’re going to change this.
To do #theBiteThing for snakebite, just:
- Snap a photo of yourself biting into your next snack…
- Post it on social media with #thebitething…
- Tag three people…
- And donate!
Our solution already works.
Our work began in Kilifi County, Kenya. We gathered data on snakebite prevalence and used it to develop recommendations and lobby the government. We taught first aid in communities. Now, our country partner boasts a 100% success rate with any snakebite patient that comes their way! Far fewer people are seeking traditional healers over physicians. The government has begun funding effective treatments, and talk is spreading to the national level. With the right policies in place for each country, needless snakebite deaths and disabilities will be a thing of the past. We currently work in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia with hope of expanding our model further, but funding pitfalls threaten our ability to move forward.
The tools exist; all we need is the means!
We know from our successes in Kilifi County, Kenya, that our model for snakebite management, education and government collaboration works. All we need is the means to grow and spread it. Why €20,000? Because that amount would give us substantial freedom to continue our work on the ground.
Even a few dollars will help go a long way towards our work to end snakebite death and disability in sub-Sahara and beyond through community first-aid education, gathering accurate data, and using evidence-based advocacy to see real government action and change. Every penny goes to on-the-ground lifesaving work. No salaries or overhead costs.