Multifaceted community health education programs as powerful tools to mitigate snakebite-induced deaths, disabilities, and socioeconomic burden.
Snakebite envenoming (SBE) predominantly affects rural impoverished communities that have limited access to immediate healthcare. These communities often hold numerous myths/misbeliefs about snakes and SBE. Moreover, healthcare professionals who practice in rural regions often work in unstable situations with limited medical infrastructure and therefore, lack sufficient knowledge/experience and confidence in the clinical management of SBE. Due to the lack of reliable statistics on the true burden of SBE, developing health policies for this condition by relevant authorities may be difficult. Hence, it is critical to improve awareness about SBE among rural communities, healthcare professionals and health authorities using robust multifaceted community health education approaches. Here, we describe the design, development, implementation, and impact of distinctive community health education approaches that we used in India and Brazil. A wide range of educational tools including information leaflets, posters, pocket guides, learning materials for healthcare professionals and short/long video documentaries were developed in local languages and used to engage with target communities through direct assemblies as well as mass/traditional and social media. Notably, we used diverse methods to determine the impact of our programs in improving awareness, treatment-seeking behaviour, and clinical practice. The people-centred approaches that we used were inclusive and highly impactful in instigating fundamental changes in the management of SBE among rural communities. The resources and approaches presented in this article can be easily adapted for wider use in other countries in order to collectively reduce SBE-induced deaths, disabilities and socioeconomic ramifications.