In December 2018 it was reported that close to 300 people had been bitten by snakes in a rural area of Kenya, Baringo county, north west of Nairobi – this ‘outbreak’ seemed to represent a spike in envenomings that had not been widely reported previously.
Following a request from the residents and the ministry of health, MSF sent a team to Baringo to assess the problem. The team were able to confirm an increase in number of snakebite cases, deaths and complications in the recent past, especially in Tiaty Sub-County. They also identified several gaps in the availability of timely and effective treatment including a lack of antivenom and expertise in treating people with snakebite.
Antivenom was supplied and the team also carried out clinical trainings for local health care and community workers and volunteers along with clinical pocket guides on the management of snakebite for use in health facilities. The team also supported the development and roll out of health promotion messages on prevention and first aid management of snakebite which were used to train community health workers and volunteers.
Here’s Walter Kizito, an epidemiologist working with MSF in Nairobi, discussing the team’s work in Baringo on Facebook.
Find out more about MSF and snakebite