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As Anti-Snake Venom Finishes In Bambur General Hospital, Hundred Dies Of Snakebite In Karim Lamido

Ayodele Samuel

For lack of anti-snake venom at General Hospital, Bambur, many victims of snake’s bites are losing their lives in Karim Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba State
Karim Lamido Local Government.

Karim Lamido popularly called Snake Island is home to hundreds of varieties of snakes, it has the highest population of snakes in West Africa, some are culturally forbidden to be killed in the community.

 “Anti-snake venom used to be free at General Hospital, Bambur, a distance of about 25 kilometers from the chiefdom but now the drug is no longer available and our people are dying,” Chief of Old Muri chiefdom Alhaji Abdullahi Ciroma told local media.

He said as a result of non-availability of the drugs, snakebite victims have to be taken to Kaltungo General Hospital in Gombe State, a distance of more than 60 kilometers, adding that the road to Kaltungo is un-tarred and hilly and it takes hours, which always result to death of many victims before reaching the hospital,

The Coordinator of Snake Bite Unit at General Hospital Bambur, Madam Sarah Umar, said “time is an important factor in treating snake bite cases as the first dose of anti-venom medicine should be given within an hour of the bite to save the victim”
She said lack of fast treatment is responsible for the death of hundreds of snake bites victims in the area.
She said snake bites claim hundreds of people yearly in different parts of the North-East geopolitical zone, especially in Karim Lamido as a result of delay in receiving treatment.

The monarch said “there is no tarred road in my chiefdom and we only use motorcycles and four-wheel cars to take snakebite victims to the hospital and in most cases the victims died before reaching the hospital.”
 The monarch called on the governments as well as international agencies to come to the aid of his community and other locals in Karim-lamido, who are also living with threat of deadly snakes.

Taraba  State Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku on a social media post said anti-snake venom's were  procured for the free treatment of snake bites in communities in Karim Lamido and Donga LGAs in 2016 and 2017, government records however did not show if anti snake venom's were procured in 2018 and 2019.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ciroma is not only worried over the high rate of snakebites and bad roads in his domain.
He also raised alarm over banditry and acute shortage of portable water for his people.

“Recently two of my village heads, their secretaries and the chairman of the vigilantes were killed by unknown gunmen. We record armed robbery and kidnapping on almost daily basis.”

The monarch blamed the crimes in his domain on bandits that cross from neighboring Plateau and Bauchi states. He appealed to the Taraba State government to prevail on the federal government to establish a police mobile base at Old Muri, headquarters of the chiefdom to address insecurity in the area.
He said his subjects now sleep with one eye open because of fear of bandits that attack people on their farms and houses.

Alhaji Abdullahi added that there was acute shortage of portable water in his domain since two out of three boreholes he personally contributed had stopped working, causing people in the area untold hardship.

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