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WHO policy on antivenom provision in Africa and Asia may result in more deaths, report says

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 20 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1629
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. 1Abergavenny

    Treatment of snakebites has not improved for 30 years, with no significant reductions in mortality or morbidity, a new report says.

    The authors criticise the World Health Organization for recommending that countries move to better quality antivenoms, when many countries cannot afford to do so and when the side effects of much cheaper antivenoms can often be tackled by inexpensive drugs (Wilderness and Environmental Medicine 2009:20;43-56).

    “The history of antivenom provision in the two key snakebite areas, Africa and Asia, comprises a record of 30 years of failure,” write the authors, from the Pakistan Medical Research Council and Stanford University Medical Center.

    “The current World Health Organization approach to increase quality standards in an uncontrolled and …

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