As many as 15 cases of snakebites were reported from Krishna district on Wednesday, and all those who were reported bitten were farmers. While two farmers succumbed to the bites, the rest are responding to treatment. The two farmers who died were from Venkata Narasimhapuram in Gannavara mandal of the district. As many as seven people were rushed to the Avanigadda area hospital seeking snakebite treatment between 6 am to 11 am alone, reported Deccan Chronicle.
These cases are being reported at a time when allegations of a shortage of anti-snakebite venom at Public Health Centres (PHCs) in the district are doing the rounds.
The spike in snakebites at Krishna district is due to the recent flooding in the Avanigadda, Gannavaram and Unguturu mandals. Since January this year, as many as 267 snakebite cases have been registered at the Avanigadda government hospital. Since the onset of the monsoon in August, 109 cases have been registered.
However, allegations of a shortage of anti-snakebite venom have been doing the rounds for some time now.
CH Kranthi, founder of Snake Saviours Society, while speaking to The New Indian Express alleged, “I have been commissioned by the Forest Department officials a number of times to capture snakes in these areas (Koduru and Avanigadda mandals of Krishna district) and I know that there is no anti-venom available in the PHCs there.”
Kranthi has in the past has taken part in many of the snakebite awareness campaigns held by the Forest Department in areas that have a larger snake population.
The allegation of non-availability of anti-venom in PHCs, however, was contested by Murthy Kantimahanti, founder, Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society, who while speaking to The New Indian Express said, “I have checked these PHCs, albeit sometimes and I did see anti-venom. However, I am not entirely sure about the quantity of the medicine.”
T Krishna Dora, superintendent, Area Hospital of Avanigadda also downplayed the shortage of anti-venom at PHCs: “Reports about the dearth of anti-venom in PHCs is propaganda to defame the government.”
However, it is interesting to note that all the victims of snakebites on Wednesday were brought to the area hospital and not treated at local PHCs.