Snake bite deaths: Senate probes Ministry of Health

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lOver failure to supply anti-snake venom drugs
lSays 91 victims died in 3 weeks

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA— THE Senate has begun a holistic investigation into  alleged failure of Federal Ministry of Health to supply anti-snake venom and other relevant drugs to treatment and other health centres in the country.

It also urged Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to mandate the ministry to urgently procure sufficient quantity of anti-snake venom and supply them to treatment centres at Kaltungo, Langtang and Bambur.

The upper chamber equally asked Federal Ministry of Health to initiate steps towards the establishment of local production of anti-snake venom.

The decisions of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Joshua Lidani (PDP, Gombe South), entitled, “Alarming increase in the rate of deaths of victims of snake bites due to scarcity of anti-snake venom.”

Presenting the motion, Senator Lidani noted that the ministry stopped the supply of anti-venom to health centres since last year.

He, however, pointed out that the number of deaths from snake bites rose, especially in snake belt states of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Plateau due to unavailability of anti-snake venom.

Lidani expressed worry that 91 victims died within the past three weeks in these areas.

In his contribution, Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South), said:  “Periodically, lives are being lost and in most cases, these lives are lost without being reported, yet they are citizens of Nigeria.

‘’I think Nigeria has attained a level where we should be able to find solutions to this, either through scientific research or sufficient anesthesia medicine that will take care of this problem once they come up, otherwise we are being embarrassed daily.”

In his remarks, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, said:  “We support any initiative that will protect the lives and properties of citizens.

‘’It is important we begin to develop technologies that will eradicate the snake completely and produce some of the medications. We need to spend some money to ensure that snakes are eradicated.”

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