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To be bitten by a poisonous snake is everyone’s worst nightmare. In Africa this happens to people quite regularly especially to those in the rural communities. The primary objective of the James Ashe Antivenom Trust (JAAT) is to reduce the number of deaths and maiming caused by those many snakebites.

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CONTACT >

T: + 254 729 403 599

E: operations@bio-ken.com

PO Box 229
Watamu 80202
Kenya

© 2020 James Ashe Antivenom Trust

OUR PROJECTS

Actions:

  • JAAT facilitates access to free supplies of effective African snake antivenoms to medical facilities on a per-case basis within Kilifi County at the request of Country health administrators, especially when no effective antivenoms is available in their pharmacies. We also provide similar assistance to health services in neighbouring Taita Taveta County at the request of health professionals. JAAT’s internationally recognised snakebite experts can also provide advice on antivenoms to health authorities, including specific information for those in more distant areas who need to obtain their own supplies (see under Problems).

  • Pamphlets and posters on First Aid are available, either on the Bio-Ken website (bio-ken.com) or at the Snake Farm.

  • A booklet and pamphlet are available to medical personnel to assist Primary Medical Care.

  • Training talks on dangerous snake recognition and First Aid/primary medical care are given by experienced Bio-Ken members to groups ranging from schools, businesses with at-risk field workers, to Health Workers, Police, Wildlife Service staff and others.

  • Biennial Snakes & Snakebite Treatment seminars have been held in Watamu since 1997.  Our speakers are international experts in treatment of envenoming, herpetology (often both!), toxinologists, victims of particularly interesting bites/stings, antivenom producers and others.  Each Seminar has had Professor David Warrell as lead speaker – sadly he told us he is now going to retire from that particular commitment but he is also our Senior JAAT Trustee and always generous with advice and help when needed.

Solutions:

  • New brands of antivenom are now, or about to be, on offer throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  Several have been made rather specifically for West Africa and it remains to be proved if they will be effective for East Africa.  JAAT is waiting hopefully for confirmation of efficacy and, meanwhile, continues to rely on the excellent antivenoms from SAVP.

  • JAAT has been trying to influence our Health Department to ensure that training hospitals & universities should include a course on envenoming for nurses and doctors who should also be encouraged to access the WHO Guidelines for the Prevention and Clinical Management of Snakebite in Africa, to familiarise themselves with the species of dangerous snakes in their own area.

  • Planning by isolated communities on how to get a patient (for any urgent medical reason) safely and quickly to the nearest medical facility should be encouraged and seriously considered by local and/or central authorities. Any infrastructure improvement would benefit the communities generally, not merely for medical emergencies.

  • Addressing the lack of basic equipment, suitable medications etc. that varies from facility to facility (for snakebite treatment some common lacks are – correct analgesics, an oxygen supply plus a way to monitor oxygen levels, and, of course, suitable antivenom.)

  • A suggestion has been put to the Medical Association in Kenya that small teams of trained data gatherers be authorised  to access hospital and clinic records to take out the necessary information on each bite case and that this system continue on a regular basis. The dynamics of human population increases, land uses and climate changes will alter case numbers from year to year so data collection should be an on-going process to assist the most economic distribution of antivenom.