Residents decry unavailability of anti-venom drugs
16 February 2015, 12:41
Busia - Residents of Busia County have raised a red flag over the unavailability of the drugs used to treat venomous bites or stings, with cases of snake bites feared to increase during this hot and dry season.
This comes a few days after a 12-year-old boy died of a snake bite, after efforts by his parents to secure him treatment at the Nangina mission hospital in Funyula turned futile.
The deceased, Victor Zawadi, was bitten by a snake early in the morning as he was fetching water from a shallow well at their Madende home in Matayos sub-County of Busia County.
According to his father Columbanus Maliga, they rushed him to the nearby Nangina mission hospital in Funyula but the anti-venom medicine was missing. Unfortunately, the young boy lost his life as they were making arrangements to transfer him to another hospital.
A medical officer at Nangina mission hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter revealed that at that moment when the boy was taken to the facility for treatment, the drug was not available.
"Snakes are very many in Busia county and especially during this hot and dry season. We are at a risk because in the event of an attack, chances are lives will be lost in case the animal is poisonous since this very important drug is missing in most of the hospitals," a local, George Wabwire observed.
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However, the Executive in charge of health and sanitation, Dr. Maurice Siminyu refuted the claims saying that the ministry procured the medicine, which should always remain refrigerated, from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).
"The truth of the matter is that our sub-County hospitals which have refrigerators were supplied with the medicine," Siminyu said.
He added that they will establish why the deceased was not transferred to an alternative facility where the anti-snake venom is available for treatment.
Among the facilities he named where the drug is available are Busia County Referral Hospital, Matayos health center, Sio Port sub-County hospital, Port Victoria sub-County hospital, Khunyangu sub-County hospital, Nambale health center, Alupe sub-district hospital and Kocholia hospital in Teso North.
He called upon the locals to take advantage of the recently purchased state-of-the-art ambulances available in each of the seven sub-counties in cases of emergencies resulting from snake bites.
"They should involve the emergency medical team; St. John's Ambulance and officers from the department of health, as the response to mercy calls is authorized upon assessment by the ambulance team. In case treatment is not available at the nearest facility, ambulance services will be offered free of charge," Siminyu said.
He observed that all calls are made at the ambulance coordinator at the control room in Busia County Referral Hospital through a hotline number either from the general public or health facilities within Busia County for assistance.
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