DR Richard Akintayo of Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), has alerted the public of the circulation of ineffective and substandard anti-snkae venoms in the country.
Akintayo made the warnings on Wednesday in Ilorin during his research paper presentation entitled: “Severe Snakebite Envenomation: A near fatal case of portable anti-venom innefficacy”.
The expert who practices in the Division of Rheumatology of UITH also warned that the vital healthcare necessary in the face of a snake bite envenomation is negatively affected by the high cost of some anti-venom which makes them un-affordable to individuals.
He said that the profiles of antivenom manufacturers importing their products into Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African nations are highly heterogenous in terms of technological base.
Akintayo explained that this also included qualification of staffs, implementation of good manufacturing practices and volume production.
“It is to be expected that a wide disparity may exist in the potency and efficacy of the products,” he said.
According to him, the structure of the pharmaceutical system in Nigeria remains fairly vulnerable to corruption.
The don pointed out that an antivenom should be stable under the conditions that it will be both transferred and stored.
He warned that instability may lead to a loss of efficacy and an increased incidence and severity of adverse effects.
Akintayo stated that snake envenomation constitute major healthcare problem in Nigeria and the outcome of this medical emergency may be influenced by the prompt administration of efficacious antivenom.
The physician said the carpet viper is responsible for majority of snake bite envenomation in Nigeria.
He warned that the clinical manifestation of snake bites includes coagulopathy, local swelling, pain and sometimes tissue necrosis.
“Snake bite is a common medical emergency in Nigeria and it constitutes major public health problem among rural communities,” he said.
He also said the saw-scaled or carpet viper, African Cobras and Puff adders were the most important cause of mortality and morbidity.
The expert explains further that study estimated that over 314,000 bites, 7,300 deaths and nearly 6000 amputations occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Akintayo also warned that there is significant impact of seasonality in snake bites and data from studies in Nigeria suggest that peak incidence of snake bites are in the rainy seasons between April and August.