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Himachal professor's idea saves snakebite victims, wows WHO

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Carrying anti snake venom in ambulances can mean the difference between life and death for snake bite victims. The impact of this practical intervention was observed while transporting snake bite victims to health facilities in 108 emergency ambulance service across the country, which is free of cost.

The first documentation of the life-saving innovation, wherein snake bite victims were administered anti-snake venom (ASV) in the emergency ambulance on the way to hospital in Himachal Pradesh prompted six other states and UTs to follow the same pattern. The intervention has also been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its latest guidelines for snakebite management. The previous guidelines came in 2010.

The research paper titled, 'Transporting snake bite victims to appropriate health facility within golden hour through toll free emergency', authored by Dr Omesh Kumar Bharti (corresponding author) from Himachal Pradesh with a team of GVKEMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute), Hyderabad, has been referenced in WHO guidelines for snake bite management, 2016, released earlier this week.

It analyzed the output of the initiative of transporting snake bite victims in emergency ambulance while administering ASV in dire emergency in 12 out of 16 states for the year 2014. (The WHO guidelines for snake bite management are spread over 206 pages and incorporate new innovations). The other two authors of the research paper are Aruna Gimkala and Dr G V Ramana Rao from GVKEMRI, Hyderabad.

The research paper was published in the International Journal of Tropical Disease and Health in 2016.

"Initially, we studied the impact of quick transportation of snake bite victims in free of cost ambulance in Himachal Pradesh for one year since its launch in December, 2010.

Forty two lives were saved out of the 469 snake bite victims transported in the ambulance in one year. The paper was published in the Indian Journal of Applied Research in 2015," said Dr Omesh Kumar Bharti, field epidemiologist with the Himachal government. He presented the research study at the Geneva Health Forum in Geneva (Switzerland) last year and was a part of national consultations in the Government of India for drafting snake bite management guidelines in 2016.

After documentation of the Himachal experience, GVK-EMRI, based in Hyderabad and service providers of 108 emergency ambulance, replicated the model of keeping anti-snake venom inside more than 1,000 ambulances (that have all the emergency drugs and all resuscitation equipment inside) in different states across the country .

"The country's data was then documented, which showed that more than 95% of snake bite victims transported in emergency ambulances and followed for over 48 hours in the hospitals, survived," said Dr Bharti.


I know some members feel that "Traditional" medicine or ([FONT=&quot] people claiming medical skills they did not have selling "medicine" that was often completely without worth) is more effective than antivenom. I would rather prefer anti-venom.[/FONT]
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