• Toxic situation

    Toxic situation

    Come June 2016, stocks of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most effective snakebite treatments are expected to run dry – leaving thousands of Africans at risk.

    According to a SciDev.Net report, French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur has ceased production of their anti-venom Fav-Afrique due to its small market share – and at present, no other firms are working on a replacement.

    Snakebites, affecting mostly women, children and agricultural workers in poor rural communities, cost an estimated 30 000 African lives a year, while around 8 000 people annually undergo amputations after being bitten.

    Abdulrazaq Habib from Nigeria’s Bayero University Kano explains that snakebite victims often turn to traditional remedies as hospitals tend to use inappropriate treatments with little efficacy. However, he adds, traditional counterparts rarely work.

    17 November 2015
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images