Serum ban increases deaths -MO

[TamilNet, Friday, 29 January 1999, 12:11 GMT]
Deaths due to snake bite has increased in Batticaloa's hinterland in recent months due to Sri Lankan Army (SLA) restrictions said medical sources in the eastern town. They said that exact figures were not available for the whole region as yet because few cases are recorded.

However, a doctor working in the Paduvaankarai (which means the side on which the sun sets) region west of Batticaloa told the TamilNet correspondent today that he has recorded nine deaths in the Village Officer's (GS) Division of Maavadi Munmaari in the Pattippalai Divisional Secretary's area last month alone.

He said the SLA does not permit antidotes or snake bite serums to these areas as they are under the control of the Liberation Tigers.

Therefore, persons bitten by poisonous snakes in the Paduvaankarai region have to be transported to hospitals across the lagoon in army controlled areas.

The problem, however, is that snake bites occur mostly after dark and the SLA closes all the entry points from the hinterland to areas under its control by 6.30 p.m. in the evening.

A person in Maavadi Munmaari who was bitten by a poisonous snake around 11 p.m. in the night recently died while being taken to the Kaluwaanchikkudy hospital through Pattiruppu next morning after this Police/SLA point was opened for traffic, the doctor pointed out.

Even temporary first aid for such cases during the night at the only functioning medical centre in Paduvaankarai is not possible as the few doctors who report to work here do not stay overnight but get back to Batticaloa before dark.

The incidence of snake bite increases usually during the monsoon because the poisonous reptiles in search of warmth are driven into villages and homes by the floods. It also goes up during the harvest season said residents.

Appeals over the years to permit antidotes and serum on humanitarian grounds have fallen on deaf years they lamented.

 

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