The Comprehensive Medical Centre, Zamko, an annex of Jos University Teaching Hospital, Plateau State, says it has treated 822 victims of snakebite over the last 10 months.
It said only three victims died within the period. A breakdown of the records obtained by Saturday PUNCH showed that in January, the CMC treated 54 patients that included 16 males, eight females and 30 children between the ages of 1-12.
While the hospital received 42 cases in February, it had 89 cases in March, 81 in April, 107 in May, 93 in June, 100 in July, 62 in August, 86 in September, and 98 in October.
Medical Officer and Acting Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Istifanus Bako, while confirming the figures, said, “Between January and now, we have recorded only three deaths. One was in January and the two were recorded during the period that anti-snake venom was not available.
“During the wet season, the rate of snakebite is usually concentrated among people who rear animals in the bush, or little children hunt. They usually put their hands in rat holes. During this period, the majority of our patients are usually under 15 years of age. We usually advise them to use boots to protect themselves.
“But when the temperature becomes hot, like in March, April, and May, it affects every age group because the snakes visit people in their houses.”
Meanwhile, workers of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, a parastatal under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, have raised the alarm over the threats of snakes and other dangerous reptiles at its permanent site.
They accused the institute’s director, Dr. Umar Bamalli, of failing to put the facility in order, thereby exposing them to danger.
When contacted, Bamalli told our correspondent that he would need to “get clearance” before responding to questions, but he had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
Efforts to get the response of the spokesperson for the organisation, Oscarline Onwuemenyi, were not successful as his mobile telephone was switched off.