Sunday, 31 May 2020 | 16:42 WIB

Health Ministry Must Put Priority on Diseases Caused by Dangerous Animals

illustration: snake bite (special)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Snake bite handling expert Dr. Tri Maharani, Msi, SpEM, says now is the time for the Indonesia Ministry of Health to give priority to diseases caused by dangerous animal.

Several cases are included in the dangerous animal category, one of them being snake bites, bee stings, and also jellyfish stings. She said now there is a shift from chronic diseases and infectious diseases to diseases caused by ecosystem imbalances.

As quoted from the 2018 Remote Energy Consultation Services (RECS) data, the number of poisonous snake bite cases reached 135,000 cases per year. This is under HIV/AIDS with 191,000 cases, and above cancer which reaches 133,000.

Based on these data, snake bite cases are among the top 10 most diseases which are unfortunately ignored. Therefore WHO echoes the case of poisonous snake bites as Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).

Dr Maharani added that from January 2019 to October 11, 2019, snake bite cases in Indonesia had killed 45 people.

"Diseases caused by dangerous animals need to be a priority. That's just the data from RECS, if all health centers and hospitals give reports, the numbers will definitely go up," she said.

The threat of disease caused by dangerous animals, according to Dr. Maha, applies to people throughout Indonesia. Cases have appeared in West Java, East Java, and also Jakarta, Papua, Maluku, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra. These cases arise due to very severe damage to the natural ecosystem.

"Now there is a shift of diseases from infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, to diseases caused by natural damage and high fatality diseases. Non-communicable diseases such as Diabetes for example, fatality can be 50 years, but poisonous snake bites are also dangerous and deadly," said the WHO snake bite advisor.

Furthermore Dr. Maha hopes there is a new future of antivenom for snakebite cases that have been neglected. Even for local anti-venom, acknowledged Dr. Maha, the Indonesian people find it difficult to find and obtain antivenoms manufactured by Biofarma.

"That (antivenom that is produced by Biofarma) is only available 40,000 every year, whereas the case in Indonesia can reach 135,000 cases of snake bites. This means we are very lacking (antivenom)," she stressed.

This situation then made herstruggle to provide antivenom imported from abroad since seven years ago, at a price that is not cheap. Dr. Maha was even willing to buy antivenom with personal money for the purpose of helping snake bite cases and given to patients for free.

"It is time [for the Ministry of Health to set a priority to diseases caused by dangerous animals]. We expect there is a system for prevention and control, to curative and providing antivenom with government support," she added.