Maharashtra: MP for Shirur writes to Union Health Ministry seeking ICMR center for snakebite research
Dr Amol Kolhe, a member of Lok Sabha from Shirur in Pune district, Maharashtra, has written to the Union Ministry of Health seeking an advanced center for treatment and research on bites of snake in the state under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
“Snakebite envenomation is one of the major public health problems in India and Maharashtra contributes to a significantly higher number of snakebite cases and deaths every year,” Dr Kolhe said in his letter addressed to Dr Bharati Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Government. of India, and Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of the ministry. Snakebite kills more than 58,000 Indians each year and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it the world’s most neglected tropical disease.
In the letter, Dr. Kolhe spoke about the tireless efforts of Dr. Sadanand Raut and Dr. Pallavi Raut who have sought snakebite cures in Narayangaon of Pune for over 30 years under a project called Mission Zero. Snakebite Death and have so far saved over 5,500 snakebite victims with zero percent mortality.
“We want to start this dedicated center at Narayangaon Retirement Home and we are really happy that Dr Kolhe has supported the project,” Dr Sadanand Raut told The Indian Express. Over the past two months, they have treated 50 snakebite cases, mostly from tehsils of Junnar, Ambegaon and Shirur in Pune district and Parner and Sangamner in Ahmednagar district.
Dr Kolhe’s letter urged the authorities to open the center saying that Maharashtra urgently needs a dedicated institute for the same to empower the community and health workers and conduct high priority research to provide essential policy contributions to the State and the Center to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with snakebite envenomation. “As part of the ICMR-DHR program for the establishment of an “Advanced Research Center”, I ask that you consider the “ICMR Advanced Center for Snakebite Treatment and Research” in the State of Maharashtra,” he wrote.
Citing Dr. Raut’s contribution, Kolhe said that “through their clinical research, they are able to save precious lives and also prevent deformities in critically ill snakebite victims.” The couple are actively engaged in the vigorous training of doctors in the public health system, private practitioners, as well as medical students from all over Maharashtra. In addition, they are widely engaged in health education, public awareness of prevention, primary aid.
Although Dr Raut’s contributions have been recognized by national and international agencies including WHO, Oxford University and ICMR, he is currently involved in two national snakebite studies funded by ICMR . He has also been selected by the WHO as a member of the snakebite envenomation expert list. “The center will not only provide treatment for snakebite victims, but will also conduct high priority research on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, new therapies, policy issues and community awareness. The snakebite center will work in coordination with the ICMR institute in Mumbai, the state department of public health and the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences for health system capacity building on bites snake,” Kolhe said.
Dr Raut, who was in Pune recently, told The Indian Express that snakebite awareness has increased in the country. “Through our campaign, we also want to educate doctors and medical staff on aspects of treatment so that snakebite victims receive prompt and appropriate treatment,” Dr Raut said. “The ICMR has taken the issue of snakebite deaths very seriously. The lack of trained doctors and staff is a major problem,” said Dr Raut.