Politics · Public health

Snake Antivenom: Making ‘Make In India’ Relevant for Rural India

This article was published in HuffPost India on 02 June 2016. Here is the link.

Below is an excerpt:

In fact, each hour snakes bite dozens of people and kill around five Indians (they kill about 45,000 annually). Tens of thousands lose limbs or are disfigured and disabled permanently. In comparison, there were 100,000 dengue cases last year, with 220 deaths… No wonder even the World Health Organization (WHO) labels snake envenoming as a “neglected” condition…

With the government being so loud about its Make in India agenda, the neglect of its own public sector pharma manufacturing is surprising. This April, a Parliamentary Committee report urged the government to make fully functional its large sera and vaccine units in Kasauli, Guindy and Coonoor, some of which also produce antivenom. Since snake antivenom is often out of stock in government rural health centres, where it is needed the most, manufacturing high-quality antivenom in public sector companies needs to be a priority. This will not only save lives (particularly of young farmers), but also prevent thousands of villagers from slipping into poverty, since treatments with private sector antivenoms at private hospitals are enormously impoverishing.

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