As secretariat of the Global Snakebite Initiative, Health Action International (HAI) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Euro 460,000 grant over two years from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The money will be used to enhance the capacity of civil society organisations in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia to collect and analyse snakebite data and to set up multi-stakeholder platforms that share information and take action on snakebite. The grant will also enable HAI to work with these in-country civil society partners to advocate for regional, national and international action on snakebite prevention and treatment.
Over the past year, HAI has provided advocacy and strategic support to the Global Snakebite Initiative, an Australian-based NGO of scientists specialising in the prevention, first aid and treatment of snakebite. This collaboration has resulted in increased global awareness of snakebite, particularly at the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization.
In addition to capacity building and awareness-raising, the cash injection from the Dutch Ministry will allow HAI and the Global Snakebite Initiative to seek additional longer-term funding to sustain the programme, expand it into additional countries, and begin increasing the knowledge and capacity of national health authorities in preventing and treating snakebite.
Facts about snakebite:
– At least 5.5 million people are bitten annually by a venomous snake.
– Snakebite kills 125,000 people a year and severely injures two to three times that amount.
– One-third of snakebite victims live in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the second-highest snakebite burden in the world.
– People who live in poor, rural communities with failing healthcare systems – particularly agricultural workers, herders and children – suffer the greatest burden of snakebite.
– Snakebite can cause paralysis, suffocation, bleeding disorders that may lead to a fatal haemorrhage, irreversible kidney failure, blindness and severe tissue damage (necrosis) that requires amputation and causes permanent disability.