-Denies Shortage of Anti-Snake Venom
Following the report of hundreds of deaths traceable to snake bites without anti-snake venom treatment in the northern part of the country, the minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has called on affected states to scale up their procurement of anti-snake venom for their people.
Adewole who has refuted the claims of initial press report on the lack of anti-snake venom in the country, through a press statement on Monday said the ministry still has vials of anti-snake venom stocked from its 2016 procurement and from which states and other treatment centres were being issued upon request.
According to the report on Sunday by the News Agency of Nigeria, 250 people died in Plateau and Gombe states from snake bites because there was no anti-snake venom to treat them.
The report further stated that, scores of snake-bite patients were lying helpless in critical conditions at three medical centres in General Hospital, Kaltungo, Ali Mega Pharmacy, Gombe and Comprehensive Medical Centre, Zamko, Plateau State.
The report said some of the patients were left on bare floor by doctors who said there was nothing they could do to help without anti-venom. The NAN report stated, “Echitab Plus ICP polyvalent and Echitab G monovalent anti- snake venom drugs had not been supplied to Nigeria since August, throwing the treatment centres into crisis after the last vials were used up in the first week of October”.
The minister however blamed the affected states governments, for refusing to request appropriately for the vials, stating that if there was shortage of anti-snake venom in any state in Nigeria, it implied that the state in question had “refused to comply with the new procedure of request, hence their inability to access the product from the ministry”.
While cautioning states on total dependence on the Federal Government for the provision of all their healthcare needs, he said the FG cannot continue indefinitely to procure and distribute the drugs free to states as being currently practiced, noting that five states had made requests and were issued the drugs in the four months previous to September 6 this year.