Ghana Experiences Shortage Of Anti-Snake Vaccine

Some health officials in the Eastern region said the situation is worrying considering the high incidents of snake bites and the fact that the farming season is approaching.

Snake bite treatment is free in government hospitals but the vaccine has run short for quite some time now in the country hence victims of venomous snake bites are left to their fate.

The New Juaben Municipal Health Director, Dr. Ekow Kaitoo, said they have been out of the vaccines since last year.

“Anti-Snake vaccines we don’t have; it is supposed to be free treatment for snake bit but when you go to medical stores there is shortage, it has existed for a long time since I started work (a year ago), snake vaccine is not readily available”.

Dr. Kaitoo explained further that “In most cases, it is not there so you won’t get it. So if a venomous snake bites someone, there is nothing we can do. If it is not poisonous snake we just put in our infusion and if by God’s grace you get heal then that is it. The shortage is not only here, it is the whole Ghana, the supply is erratic, it is a big issue”.

Government of Ghana procures and imports Anti -Snake serum for distribution to health facilities in Ghana.

Health experts including Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare; the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Professor Kwadwo A. Koram, and the Head of Pharmacy at the Tamale Central Hospital, Mr Sualihu I. Kunguo-Momori have all underscored the need for Ghana to carry out its own research into anti-snake serum related to indigenous variety of snake species in Ghana to manufacture anti-snake serum with high efficacy suitable to deal with any venomous snake bite in the country.

To achieve this, the Director General of GHS, Dr Nsiah Asare opined the need for the establishment of snake farms in the country to facilitate research into suitable serum for snakebites in Ghana to help address high rate of snake bite incidents in the country.

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