Authorities at the Damongo Government Hospital in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region have confirmed an alarming surge in the number of snake bite cases and warned that insufficient anti-venom for treatment is endangering more lives in the area.
The hospital said it had recorded nearly 50 cases from January up to now and out of the number, two people have died with others suffering disease and disabilities.
The hospital recorded 68 cases the whole of last year.
Records show at least 3-4 cases are recorded daily and most of the victims are people living in rural communities who are either too poor to afford anti-venom treatment or their communities are too far flung or cut off to access healthcare at the district capital.
15-year-old Joseph from Agric resettlement, a farming community in the Damongo district and 46-year-old woman from Daboya were killed by snake bite.
17-year-old Issahaku Majeed from Sumanikura is currently being treated at the hospital.
The breakdown is as follows: Male Adult 21, Adult female 7, Male Children 15, Female children 5 Unknown bites 3.
The Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Nelson Agboagoh told Starr News that the hospital is struggling to contend with the outbreak due to regular shortage of anti-venom drug.
Dr. Nelson said many lives are still at risk as the rainy season sets in and called for immediate release of the anti-venom drugs to stock the hospital.
“The number of snake bites have increased and most of the snake bites we get are very dangerous, poisonous ones. Usually, the people died from bleeding, they bleed from all part of their bodies and some of them would start bleeding into their internal organs,” Dr. Nelson explained.
“The anti-snake venom is what we use for the management of the snake bite. We do get some from the regional medical stores but most of the time, we don’t get enough and so sometimes one person, based on the severity of the situation, can consume about 5 or 6 packs and so when we take some it won’t take long and run out, and most of the time we don’t get the quantity we want.”
The medical officer said the challenge is that many victims of snake bite do not report the situation immediately but only wait days after failed attempts to treat it locally.
He added some patients are brought to the hospital unconscious adding that, that circumstance makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to treat.
Antivenom treatment can cost between GH300 to GH400 at hospitals, meaning many victims either seek no treatment at all or go to a local witch doctor or herbalist.
Story: News Desk