"As each day passes I can see a rapid and concerning deterioration in people’s mental state."
In Agok, MSF treats around 300 snakebite patients per year. Most of them during the rainy season, as that is when there are most snakes. Many people get bitten inside their houses, as the snakes go there in search of dry areas. Snakebites mainly affect children and people working in the fields. Few villages are spared and everyone has the same problem – getting treatment. Most victims live in remote areas and have to travel great distances to seek care. It can take several days for some because the roads are so bad during the rainy season. Globally, one hundred thousand people die from snakebite every year, and 30,000 in Africa alone. Until 2016, MSF was using an antivenom called FAV-Afrique to treat snakebite patients in Sub-Saharan Africa. It really was the “gold standard” treatment, an antivenom that was efficient against envenoming from ten different snake species. But the manufacturer, Sanofi, decided to stop producing it and the last batch expired in June 2016. As there was no other equivalent available, MSF worked to find alternative treatments and advocated for a solution for snakebite victims.