Back to search

Consequences of geographical accessibility to post-exposure treatment for rabies and snakebite in Africa: a mini review


Introduction: Rabies and snakebite envenoming are two zoonotic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) transmitted to humans by animal bites, causing each year around 179,000 deaths and are most prevalent in Asia and Africa. Improving geographical accessibility to treatment is crucial in reducing the time from bite to treatment. This mini review aims to identify and synthesize recent studies on the consequences of distance and travel time on the victims of these diseases in African countries, in order to discuss potential joint approaches for health system strengthening targeting both diseases.

Methods: A literature review was conducted separately for each disease using Pubmed, Google Scholar, and snowball searching. Eligible studies, published between 2017 and 2022, had to discuss any aspect linked to geographical accessibility to treatments for either disease in Africa.

Results: Twenty-two articles (8 on snakebite and 14 on rabies) were eligible for data extraction. No study targeted both diseases. Identified consequences of low accessibility to treatment were classified into 6 categories: (1) Delay to treatment; (2) Outcome; (3) Financial impacts; (4) Under-reporting; (5) Compliance to treatment, and (6) Visits to traditional healers.

Discussion and conclusion: Geographical access to treatment significantly influences the burden of rabies and snakebite in Africa. In line with WHO's call for integrating approaches among NTDs, there are opportunities to model disease hotspots, assess population coverage, and optimize geographic access to care for both diseases, possibly jointly. This could enhance the management of these NTDs and contribute to achieving the global snakebite and rabies roadmaps by 2030.

More information

Journal Article
Faust A
Ray N