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Bauchi residents groan over snakebites

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Rabitu

Residents and farmers in Duguri, a community in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi, are living in fear over frequent snake bites.

The Guardian gathered that no fewer than 10 people in the community suffer snake bites daily.

While some of the victims receive local treatments, others sought medical attention in neighbouring states of Plateau or Gombe, considering the proximity of the states as compared to 178-kilometre trip to Bauchi.

In search of a cure, some travelled as far as 100 kilometres, while many lost their lives in the process.
One of the victims, 18-year-old Rabiatu Adamu, had felt a prick on her foot during a visit to her father’s farmland to fetch firewood, but thought that she stepped on thorns.

The teenager later discovered that she had been bitten by a poisonous snake, which is 178km away from Bauchi metropolis.

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It was learnt the victim was at home for eight months without proper medical attention.

According to her, apart from the devastating pains of the snake bite, her father’s inability to foot the medical expenses that would have assuage the pain exacerbated the situation.

Her father, Adamu Samaila, expressed disappointment “for lacking the financial wherewithal to foot her medical bills.”

“I am emotionally troubled because I wake up every day to see her terrible condition and I lack the means to help.”

He said that since the time of the former Governor Isa Yuguda, the communities had been struggling to get a snake bite clinic and their hope was increased when Governor Mohammed’s administration laid a foundation to build one for them.

“Again, we got exasperated when the project was abandoned halfway. We are only left with an empty building and dissipating hope about having a snake bite clinic here,” Adamu said.

The herbalist treating victims of snakebites in Alkaleri, Hurera Ibrahim, claimed she was chosen by her late father to treat victims of snakebites shortly before his demise.

Ibrahim said she had been treating victims of snakebites from Alkaleri, Kafi, Daji, Rimi and Balele, where snakebites had become rampant.

She said: “I can keep about 10 victims of snakebites in my house and treat them.”

Hurera explained that for the past 40 years, she had done nothing other than treating snakebite patients for as little as N2,010 or two chickens with N10, an instruction, she said, was passed down to her by the late father.

She, however, lamented that the antidote for venom from some types of snakes commonly found around Manta-Bala village had become extremely difficult to find.

She also said some victims who could not get to her house earlier from that axis died on the way, while the few ones that survived the venom usually experience serious bleeding from all parts of their bodies.

The herbalist said that she was excited with the government’s initial plan to build a hospital in the community because of the rate at which snakes continue to kill people in surrounding communities.

Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, confirmed that government was aware of the situation and had initially planned to set up a snakebite clinic structure in the community.

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