To a casual observer snake bites are not such a big problem but there are thousands of people who die or are crippled by these slippery creatures.
This is because their habitat comprising of swamps and forests have been encroached on.
“Unfortunately people grab stones or rungu (huge headed stick) upon seeing one,” says an animal keeper, Alphonse Kasange at Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC.) “And yet some of them are not poisonous. Or they may be feeding on the hazardous residing in your home.”
“Stay ram rod still and let it slither away,” tips Kasange. “They normally strike in defence against potential danger after feeling vibrations in their neighbourhood.”
Adding that, in this era many deaths can be avoided after being beaten by a snake but the poor first aid given and delay to reach the health center is what shoots the number of fatalities up.
“Worse still the anti-venom applied might not be the one supposed to neutralise the one injected in the victim,” adds Kasange.
“For example one needs different venom to treat a person bitten by a Cobra or Mamba. And the right venoms do not come cheap given the price tags ranging between $130-$340.”
The UWEC marketer Scola Musimenta says there is need to have effective anti-venom as one part of solving the snake bite puzzle.
“People at the risk of being beaten ought to be identified in different communities to ensure availability of medicine,” says Musimenta. “Besides that, there is need to train more clinicians and health workers in how to effectively treat snake bite victims to reduce the number of deaths.”
Musimenta says UWEC is educating local communities about snake bites to help lower the risk of being bitten.
Communities at the risk of encountering snakes in their back yards are advised to plant tobacco which repels them. This is in addition to the traditional belief of sprinkling paraffin around the bushes near your home. Tucking the bed on the sides with mosquito nets prevents their access to humans in bed.