Snakebite should be treated as medical emergency and antivenoms should be made available at public health centre levels across Assam, said experts during an interactive session organized at the Manas Conservation Outreach Centre (MCOC) near the Manas National Park in Baksa in Assam.

The interactive session was jointly organised by Aaranyak, Manas Tiger Reserve Authority and IMA in the Manas National Park on April 10.

During the session, Surojit Giri, an anaethesiologist by profession spoke on how snakebites can be treated.

He also highlighted the commonly found venomous snakes and how they can be identified.

“Snakebites should be considered as a medical emergency, which is unfortunately not the case at present. One should avail medical care to treat snakebites instead of using superstitious practices,” Surojit Giri said.

“There is a need in change of policy so that antivenoms are made available in primary health centres in villages,” he said.

He further added that presence of non-venomous snakes acts as pest controllers.

The session was attended by several officials and staff of the state forest department.

On an average, 58,000 humans die due to snakebite per year in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) targets to reduce human deaths due to snakebite by 2030, it has become essential to capacitate people in dealing with snakebites.

Manas Tiger Reserve AFC Dhirendra Nath Basumatary said, “I think the workshop will be beneficial to the frontline staffs who are prone to snakebite, especially in the coming monsoons”.

“A policy to make available snakebite treatment in the PHCs in Manas fringe areas will go a long way in saving humanlives of both forest staff and fringe communities,” he said.

Kabiram Narzary,  president of the Kumguri village in the Manas fringe area

Also shared his experiences of encountering a case of snakebite in his village where the victim had to

lose his limb as it was tightly tied even though the snake was non venomous.

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