MSF welcomes the adoption of a resolution at the World Health Assembly

“Banywich Bone, 18 ans, was reffered to Agok From Mayom, where MSF runs a primary health center. He was bitten by a snake three years ago, while he was sleeping at home. When he arrived in the hospital, he presented an infected wound for which doctors blame the snake bite. His left leg had necrotic tissus and pain, the wound was infected and MSF surgeon had to amputate the leg above the knee.” Photo: MSF/Pierre-Yves Bernard

May 25, 2018, Geneva/Juba (SSNA) — At the 71st World Health Assembly today, 194 countries adopted a resolution on “Addressing the burden of snakebite envenoming.”

This resolution is expected to provide a strong mandate for the World Health Organization secretariat to implement an ambitious snakebite ‘roadmap,’ mobilising governments and donors to respond to snakebite with the urgency and attention this neglected public health crisis demands.

Worldwide, snakebite envenoming kills an estimated 100,000 people every year, making it one of the deadliest neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) witnesses the devastating impact that snakebites have on victims, their families and communities in many of the places we work.  In 2017, more than 3,000 patients were admitted to our clinics for snakebite treatment, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Middle East.

“Too many people die or become disabled because they were unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a snake and face the devastating reality that they can’t access an effective and affordable treatment. We are encouraged to see that governments are finally getting serious about tackling snakebite, because it’s a major killer that has remained one of the world’s most neglected public health emergencies for far too long. Passing a resolution means that snakebite will now be on both national and international health agendas, and governments now need to make concrete commitments”, explains Julien Potet, Policy Advisor (NTDs, Vaccines), MSF Access Campaign.

“We want to see the ambitious snakebite ‘roadmap,’ that this resolution kick starts, lead to a reduction in snakebite-induced death and disability. To make the WHO snakebite roadmap a success, governments and donors need to pledge enough funds to scale up effective interventions, in particular technical assistance for countries to roll out the roadmap; procurement and supply of affordable, quality-assured anti-venom products; and a dramatic reduction of out-of-pocket costs for snakebite victims, for whom access is a matter of life or death.”

Read the resolution here:

Read our factsheet for more information:

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