Snakebite Envenoming

Snakebite Envenoming

The burden of snakebite envenoming in Kenya is indeed a pressing issue that requires immediate attention. We have taken proactive measures to address this challenge through a program implemented in collaboration with Health Action International (HAI). The primary focus of this program is to prioritize the care, management, and treatment of snakebites in Kenya.

To ensure the availability of necessary commodities for snakebite treatment, we have integrated advocacy efforts into our program. This involves advocating for the availability of essential medicines and supplies specifically for snakebite treatment. Additionally, we have placed significant emphasis on community sensitization and education to raise awareness about snakebites and their proper management.

Another crucial aspect of our program is healthcare worker training. We provide comprehensive training to healthcare workers, equipping them with the practical skills and knowledge required for the effective care, treatment, and management of snakebite cases. This ensures that healthcare workers across the targeted counties are well-prepared to handle snakebite incidents.

Since 2020, the Access to Medicines Platform has been actively implementing the Snakebite Project in partnership with Health Action International. Together, we are committed to addressing the challenges posed by snakebite envenoming in Kenya and improving the overall response to snakebite cases in the country.

After being bitten, I went to the hospital in Ewaso but the doctor could not help. I went to St Mary in Nairobi but there was no medicine [anti-venom] there. The same instance was at Mbagathi hospital. I ended up going to Kenyatta Hospital.” (FGD1.2)

“The snakebite victims should be helped as some of them are breadwinners in their families. In my case for instance, I am paying off the loan that I borrowed to cover the hospital bill and yet my business is failing. I urge the government to offer any assistance to my business or school fees for her children both in primary and secondary schools.” (FGD 2.4)

The main interventions implemented through the snakebite project:

1. Generated evidence on snakebite incidence, community perspectives, healthcare worker knowledge levels, cultural barriers to effective treatment and the socio-economic consequences of snakebites.

2. Ensure effective treatment interventions by training healthcare workers on care, management and treatment of snakebites from Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Kakamega, West Pokot, Kajiado, Taita-Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi.

3. Empower communities through sensitization and education on snakebite prevention measures and first aid measures.

4. Dissemination of prevention and first aid posters to health facilities in the 8 counties.

5. Community engagement forums to sensitize of over 200 community members and community health workers on prevention and first aid measures.

In 2022, we successfully launched our flagship addition, the Snakebite School Program. As part of this initiative, we developed a prevention comic book specifically designed for school children aged 7 years and older. To ensure its effectiveness, we conducted a validation process involving over 200 school children from Kajiado West Sub County, as well as 25 healthcare workers, including clinical officers and public health officers, from three different counties.

The feedback and comments received during the validation process were carefully considered and incorporated into the final version of the comic book. The response to the comic book has been overwhelmingly positive, with it being well-received by the target audience.

This project provided us with a unique opportunity to adopt a multisectoral approach by collaborating with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Working closely with these government bodies allowed us to successfully roll out the Snakebite School Program and ensure its integration into the education system.

By engaging with schools, children, and healthcare workers, we are confident that this initiative will contribute significantly to raising awareness about snakebite prevention among school children. Through our collaboration with key stakeholders, we aim to reduce the incidence of snakebites and promote prompt and appropriate treatment in affected communities.

Focus Areas