250 PEOPLE DIE OF SNAKE BITES IN TWO STATE

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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.

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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.

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“ 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.

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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.

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