AIIMS Bhubaneswar plans research to curb snakebite deaths
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhubaneswar is undertaking a research study with a target to reduce snakebite incidents in Odisha.
The department of forensic medicine and toxicology (FM&T) of AIIMS Bhubaneswar is planning the study to tackle human-snake conflict in the current season.
“Odisha is witnessing an upward trend of snakebite deaths. It is struggling to cope with an increasing number of snakebite deaths with about 800 deaths per year. Being an issue of public health, the involvement of common people is important to mitigate and improve the situation,” said a press release issued by the AIIMS.
Dr Sudipta Ranjan Singh, additional professor, department of forensic medicine and toxicology, said: “The study will be conducted in Bhubaneswar and adjoining areas. The study has the title ‘A cross sectional study of knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) on first aid, treatment and prevention of snakebite in the residents of a house from where a snake is rescued’.”
Dr Singh is also the investigator of the study. Dr Manoj Kumar Mohanty, professor and head of the FM&T department, is the co-investigator.
This research-based pilot study is part of a proposed project to be taken up across the state. Initially it will be implemented in Bhubaneswar and its peripheral areas. Around 400 families will be included in the research study.
This is a cross-sectional observational study, which will be conducted in collaboration with volunteers of Snake Helpline, an authorised and registered organisation engaged in rescue and rehabilitation of snakes in Odisha. Subhendu Mallik, general secretary of Snake Helpline, is the research coordinator for the study.
The volunteers of snake rescue team will collect the data from the members of the households, from where a call for rescue of a snake was made, with the help of a questionnaire. The questionnaires will be in local Odia and English language. The study will help to analyse the level of awareness among study groups about appropriate first aid methods, prevailing taboos, health care in cases of snakebite and preventive practice to reduce snake intrusion, breeding and bite in domestic premises.
For this study, 10 volunteers of Snake Helpline were trained by the experts of the department of forensic medicine and toxicology about the methods of sampling on Monday. The citizens will be asked questions on snakes, snakebite, first-aid, prevention etc. After obtaining the data from the citizen, an awareness leaflet will also be handed over to the study participants to improve their knowledge about snakes and snakebite.
AIIMS Bhubaneswar, in association with Snake Helpline, has also developed a mobile application and website to help people on snakebite. The Snake Helpline App and the website www.snakehelpline.com have been launched under the guidance of the FM&T department.