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One of the biggest challenges we face in Africa is the availability of antivenom and snakebite deaths has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neglected tropical disease. Up to 20,000 fatalities are reported in Africa every year.
Antivenom is expensive and often in short supply. We often receive telephone calls from hospitals country wide, especially on weekends, looking for antivenom for a snakebite emergency. SAVP, the manufacturers of our antivenoms, is a pharmaceutical company and do not trade on weekends.
Most serious snakebite cases require 6 – 15 ampoules of polyvalent antivenom and this costs R14,500 – R28,600 per treatment. While we always stock sufficient antivenom for one treatment we are based in Pretoria and getting antivenom to other centers is a logistical nightmare.
Considering the above we have registered the African Snakebite Institute Foundation, a NPO (231-106NPO) and with an ambitious plan of establishing over 20 antivenom banks throughout South Africa where both polyvalent and monovalent antivenom will be available 24 hours a day. To fully stock all of the antivenom banks, and this will be done through various pharmaceutical departments of universities and hospitals, will cost in the region of R1m.
The African Snakebite Institute Foundation is currently seeking donations from various corporates as well as members of the public. With the effect that Covid19 has had on the world economy it might not be the best of times to seek donations, but we are forging ahead in any event. Every cent donated will go towards purchasing antivenom and no money will be used for any other purpose, including salaries or travel.
Should you wish to donate to this cause, the banking details are as follows:
African Snakebite Institute Foundation NPO
First National Bank
Bank Account Number 62858750055
Branch Code 250655