Rep donates 700 anti-snake venom vials worth N25 million to Plateau clinic

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By Martha Azi
Rep. Johnbull Shekarau (PDP-Shendam/Mikang) has donated 700 vials of Anti-Snake Venom (ASV), worth N25 million, to Zamko Comprehensive Health Centre, Langtang, Plateau State.

Dr. Nyam Azi, Medical Officer of the health centre, an outpost of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) who confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), described the gesture as “wonderful”.

“The 700 vials donated to the hospital have been of immense help here. The number of deaths from snakebites have reduced drastically,” Azi told NAN on Thursday in Langtang.

Azi said that 440 cases of snakebites had been received this year.

“Of the figure, only nine deaths have been recorded because of the availability of the drug,” he said.

He said that snake bite cases were rampant because of the farming season, adding, however, that most of the victims were children who inserted their little fingers into rat holes.

Azi said that the clinic’s wards were filled up with snakebite victims, adding that some patients were left in corridors while others sleep on benches.

According to him, the mortality rate has gone down because more people rush to the hospital instead of the usual traditional herbalists.

“Many people are aware that there are free drugs and rush here once they are bitten.

“In the past, they would resign to fate and remain at home because they cannot afford the cost of the drug. Now, they rush here because the drugs are free,” he said.

Speaking to NAN on the gesture, Shekarau said that he was moved to assist when he visited the clinic and found many snake bite patients.

“I was just passing by the clinic one day and decided to enter. I was shocked at what I saw and immediately made up my mind to assist,” he said.

Shekarau regretted that snakes had killed so many people in the area, describing the reptiles as “constant companions” on the farms, roads, homes and the grasses.

The lawmaker said that the drugs were not restricted to members of the constituency.

“I have told the cinic’s authorities to give them to every victim. There should be no discrimination,” he said.

He urged the federal government to begin local production of the ASV to reduce its cost and make them affordable so as to reduce the number of deaths from snake bites.

Shekarau also appealed to the federal, Plateau and local governments to procure the drugs and donate same to the clinic to assist indigent victims of snake bites.

“We should show a sense of concern to the poor. We owe them a duty to show love, care and affection,” he said.

The lawmaker also appealed to governments at all levels to enlighten members of the public on measures to minimise snake bites. (NAN)

Biola Lawal

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