National snakebite project on capacity building of health system on prevention and management of snakebite envenoming including its complications in selected districts of Maharashtra and Odisha in India: A study protocol.
BACKGROUND: Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is an acute, life-threatening emergency in tropical and subtropical countries. It is an occupational hazard and a major socioeconomic determinant. Limited awareness, superstitions, lack of trained health providers, poor utilization of anti-venom results in high mortality and morbidity. India is the snakebite capital of the world. Yet, information on awareness, knowledge, and perceptions about snakebite is limited. Data on capacity building of health systems and its potential impact is lacking. Recommended by the National Task Force on snakebite research in India, this protocol describes the National Snakebite Project aiming for capacity building of health systems on prevention and management of snakebite envenomation in Maharashtra and Odisha states.
METHODS: A cross-sectional, multi-centric study will be carried out in Shahapur, Aheri blocks of Maharashtra, and Khordha, Kasipur blocks of Odisha. The study has five phases: Phase I involves the collection of retrospective baseline data of snakebites, facility surveys, and community focus group discussions (FGDs). Phase II involves developing and implementing educational intervention programs for the community. Phase III will assess the knowledge and practices of the healthcare providers on snakebite management followed by their training in Phase IV. Phase V will evaluate the impact of the interventions on the community and healthcare system through FGDs and comparison of prospective and baseline data.
DISCUSSION: The National Snakebite Project will use a multi-sectoral approach to reduce the burden of SBE. It intends to contribute to community empowerment and capacity building of the public healthcare system on the prevention and management of SBE. The results could be useful for upscaling to other Indian states, South Asia and other tropical countries. The findings of the study will provide critical regional inputs for the revision of the National Snakebite Treatment protocol.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered under the Clinical Trials Registry India no. CTRI/2021/11/038137.