Gombe Urges FG to Boost Antivenom Production to Treat Snakebites

The Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, has called on the Federal Government to boost antivenom production to treat snakebite cases across the states.

He made the appeal while declaring open the 106th regular meeting of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors in Nigeria.

Yahaya, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Manassah Jatau, noted that Kaltungo Local Government Area in Gombe, has a high incidence of snakebites, adding that the hospital in the area serves not only the state but victims from other countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) while speaking on neglected tropical diseases said anti-venoms work by boosting the immune response after snakebite.

WHO noted that they are made by immunising donor animals such as horses or sheep with snake venoms.

Yahaya said, “May I appeal that the issue of snakebites in Kaltungo, which has a history that is too long be addressed. Kaltungo, which is recorded as the community with the highest number of snakes needs the Federal Government and the World Health Organisation’s intervention. The snakebite hospital is not just serving the North-East but Cameroun and others.”

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare Professor Muhammad Pate, who spoke virtually during the opening ceremony of the event promised to strengthen the Snakebite Hospital in Kaltungo.

According to him, the government will consider local production as demands increase periodically.

He said, “We are committed to bringing succour to the people of Gombe State and the North-East on this important issue because it has been a challenge for many years. We will strengthen the snakebite hospital to see how to produce some of the antivenoms domestically. I don’t think Nigeria should rely in perpetuity on importation.”

On his part, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre Keffi, Dr Yahaya Baba, who doubled as acting Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors in the meeting said the essence of the committee’s engagement was to ensure development through peer learning.

He said, “When you have good manpower provided for citizens when you have improved in patients’ attention, it’s for the good of the citizens. We do peer revenue and learn from each other. We are here to learn from his achievements.”

Also, the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, Dr Abdullahi expressed happiness following the large turnout of his colleagues at the 106th meeting.

He said, “I feel honoured and great to see my colleagues from across the country, who came to see what we are doing in order to improve medical practice in the country.

“The people of Gombe State should expect hybrid performance in obtaining treatment from FTH.”