A Sudanese taskforce battles snakes and scorpions. The taskforce says its work is particularly important as doctors do not have antidotes made specifically for the venom of snakes found in Sudan. Climate change and mining, among other reasons, have increased the frequency of attacks.
KHARTOUM SEPTEMBER 29: A Sudanese taskforce battles snakes and scorpions as a surge of the animals, the reasons for which include climate change and mining, threatens inhabitants of the Nile’s riverbank communities.
In Khartoum, specialists from Sudan’s Center for Poisonous Species Research are deployed at night in protective vests, gloves, and goggles to catch a snake that residents say has killed a cat, before it has a chance to strike again.
Attacks by snakes and scorpions are more frequent during Sudan’s rainy season, when water levels on the river Nile can rise and send floodwaters surging into communities.
Children are particularly vulnerable. Accessing healthcare in rural Sudan and South Sudan means walking, and depending on where you live, it might be over a day’s walk to the nearest health centre. Many people die from a snakebite before they can reach help.
Although the exact number of global snakebites is unknown, estimates put the number of people bitten by venomous species at 2.7 million a year. Of these, some 400,000 will require an amputation or be left with another type of permanent disability. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, an estimated 20,000 people die from snakebites each year.
MSF is campaigning to improve access to more effective and affordable antivenom.
Featured Image: Bernard Dupont