The Federal Government has reported the number of yearly snakebites in Nigeria. The Government reported that there are about 20,000 cases and about 2,000 deaths yearly. Dr. Olorunnimbe Adeleke Mamora, the Minister of State for Health made the report. He spoke during a press briefing to mark International Snakebite Awareness Day 2021. The Minister mentioned that in Nigeria, the rate of snakebites was 479 per 100,000 people.
“Nigeria records an average of 15,000 to 20,000 cases of snakebite every year, with about 2,000 people killed and between 1,700 and 2,000 people having their leg or arm amputated to save their lives after snakebite.” He stated.
Dr. Mamora also mentioned some of the states with the highest cases of snakebites in Nigeria. The states included; Plateau, Adamawa, Nassaraw, Gombe, Borno, Bauchi, Kogi, Kebbi, Enugu, Taraba, Benue, and Oyo. He called on these states to take measures towards reducing their cases. He called on donors, development partners, and other stakeholders to renew partnerships with these states towards the management of snakebites.
According to Alhaji Mahmoud Mamman, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, there was a high number of cases between 2018 and December 2020. There were over 45,384 reported cases of snakebites and 1,793 deaths. He added that there were more cases from people who had not visited any health facility.
To curb the issue, some State Governments are already taking measures. The Benue State Government has pledged to cover the cost for victims of snakebites in the state. The Governor of Benue State, Gov. Samuel Ortom said he aimed to reduce the cost of treatment for the victim. He also mentioned his partnership with Bishop Murray Hospital in Makurdi. The partnership was for the treatment of snakebites and has saved many lives.
Snakebites in Nigeria are a recurring issue. In 2017, CNN reported that over 250 people were killed by snakebites within three weeks in Gombe and Plateau states. In June 2021, residents of Duguri, in the Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi, reported rising cases of snakebites.
The residents lamented that they had to resort to local treatments for snakebites. This was because medical attention was far away and they could not afford it. The search for adequate medical attention was as far as 100 kilometers. Some people lost their lives during the search. Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, the Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, stated that the Government was aware of the issue and would set up a snakebite clinic structure in the community.