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Regional Action Plan for prevention and control of snakebite envenoming in the South-East Asia 2022–2030


More than 5.8 billion people globally are at risk of snakebite envenoming, which kills between 81 000 and 138 000 people per year. In the South-East Asia Region – a biodiversity hotspot for venomous snakes, and home to some of the world’s most densely packed populations – snakebite envenoming is a major public health problem, killing tens of thousands of people every year and causing a range of physical and mental disabilities, including blindness and amputation, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Snakebite envenoming is a disease of poverty. Agricultural workers, fishermen, working children, and families living in poorly constructed houses are particularly vulnerable. Most deaths and serious consequences of snakebite are entirely preventable by safe and effective antivenoms. Yet, due to lack of awareness, knowledge and access to health care and appropriate antivenoms, young people and children in underprivileged rural areas continue to suffer disproportionate case fatality due to snakebite envenoming. It is also a significant cause of maternal morbidity and pregnancy-loss – an inequity that we must not accept.

In 2018, the Seventy-first World Health Assembly adopted a comprehensive resolution calling for a coordinated response to address the global burden of snakebite envenoming as one related to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In the following year, WHO developed a Global Strategy titled: Snakebite envenoming: a strategy for prevention and control, to fulfil our mandate to direct and coordinate global action on snakebite, as had been requested by Member States in the resolution.

This Regional Action Plan for prevention and control of snakebite envenoming in the South-East Asia 2022–2030 aims to accelerate progress to reduce snakebite-related death and disability by 50% by 2030 in line with the Global Strategy. It is intended to guide Member States, WHO, donors and partners to work together to intensify efforts to strengthen health system components and accelerate actions at the human–animal–ecosystem interface through a series of strategies and priority areas.

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