South Sudan’s Jonglei State in snakebites crisis

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon, Juba  

South Sudan’s Duk County in Jonglei State is currently experiencing a barb of snakebite across the areas. 

At least about 21 cases are so far reported including two deaths or more since last month, according to the officials on the ground.

Last year, Jonglei State authorities registered rampant cases of snakes bite in the areas following the deadly floods that submerged the vicinities. 

Duk Padiet area and Pigi Counties were affected as they reported 46 cases in a week. 

Other areas like Pochalla County in Pibor Administrative Area, a part of Greater Jonglei also reported similar cases. 

A climatologist said the snakes were competing for dry areas with people in the flood affected localities.  

However, Peter Mathiang, the Head of Duk Padiet Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) said the facilities in Duk have run out of anti-venom drugs use for snakes bit treatment.

The health worker affirmed that they have resorted to using local remedies for snakebites as opposed to the medical solutions. 

“Drugs shortage has become a big concern to us in Duk Padiet areas. Since the beginning of the month, we have registered seven snakebite cases, including a death. And we still have another child in Hospital,” he said.

In May this year, at least 10 of snakebites were reported in Duk County’s vicinities. 

But, according to the health officials, the facilities have run short of anti-venom drugs since March, and that the locals resorted to using home based remedies.

“We do not have anti-venom to treat snakebite victims. When they are brought to the facility, we provide some support.”

Edward Chol Deng, a Clinical Officer at Poktap Primary Helath Care said they have registered 14 cases and one fatality in the past months. 

Last week, the facilities received 15 doses of anti-venom from UNICEF and MDM but there is already a shortage, according to the authorities.

“We have been using those 15 doses. They were only to serve 15 people yet every day, we get a case,” he said. 

The health authorities called for an intervention, as they describe “snakebites” as a public health concern in the State.

Elijah Manyok Ayiei, the Executive Director at Duk County decried the rampant cases of snakebites in the areas.

“It is a threat because they disrupt the local population’s livelihoods. Therefore, I am calling for intervention from the government and relevant aid agencies in the state.

Duk County is one of the nine (9) counties in Jonglei State which has been hit by floods since June last year.

The floods in Jonglei State have not subsided up to now. 

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