NEWS: Health Official Advises Farmers: “Do Not Suck Snakebite Spots”

A U.S.-based Nurse, Alloysius Nlekwa, has advised farmers not to suck the spots where they were bitten by snakes while on their farms.
Nlekwa gave the advice on Tuesday in Abakaliki while delivering a lecture at a seminar on “Health and Environmental Management’’.
The seminar was organised for farmers by the Ebonyi Office of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
According to Nlekwa, the same measure should be applied when farmers are bitten or stung by scorpions and other creatures while on their farms.
“We want to correct the widely-held misconception that sucking the affected spots to extract the venom would stop its circulation inside the victim’s body rather it will worsen the situation.
“A farmer bitten on the hand for instance, should lower it to stop the venom from getting to the heart region, then thoroughly clean and wrap the affected spot with a neat cloth.
“The victim should then proceed to the hospital and inform the doctor the type of snake which bit him for prescription of the suitable anti-venom therapy or drug,’’ he said.
The IFAD–VCDP consultant also warned farmers not to apply oil or herbs on snake-bite spots because it would worsen their conditions.
“Farmers suffering from epilepsy should not go to the farm alone, to get immediate assistance in cases of sudden seizures.
“The level of modern health equipment in the U.S. for instance, cannot be compared with those in Nigeria and other developing countries which made us to stress on enlightenment to correct prevailing misconceptions.
“We also enlighten farmers on general health and environmental management and how to prevent and handle ailments such as malaria, diabetes and cancer among others,’’ he said.
Mr Sunday Ituma, the IFAD-VCDP Project Coordinator in Ebonyi, noted that farmers were represented at the seminar by leaders of their cluster groups and various organisations.
“We have over 500 farmers’ organisations in the state and it will be difficult to bring all of them together to organise such a seminar.
“The group leaders are then expected to enlighten their various group members to ensure that the state has a healthy and productive farming population,’’ he said.
Mrs Francisca Anya, the project’s Rural Institution, Youth and Gender Mainstream Officer in the state, urged the participants to effectively utilise the tutorials received from the seminar.
“We want our farmers to increase their production capacities and there is no way this will be achieved if they are not healthy,’’ she said.
Mr Julius Okoro, a participant, commended IFAD-VCDP for organising the seminar and pledged to adequately practicalise the knowledge gained from it.

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