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SRM Medical College to open toxicology unit

Staff Reporter

Education programme for 80 villages on treatment for snakebite also planned

CHENNAI: SRM Medical College and Hospital in Kattankulathur will launch a website on treatment and first aid for poison victims as part of its initiative to set up a poison information centre. An education programme for 80 villages around the college on treatment for snakebite has also been planned.

Incidence of snakebite is high after the monsoons. The impact on the rural population is rather severe because of lack of treatment facilities closer to home. Most people go to government hospitals for free treatment. Any delay can be prevented if private hospitals enter the scene, says R. Tirumavalavan, assistant professor of intensive care unit and toxicology-in-charge at the hospital.

As a first step, the hospital will launch its fortnightly education programme in nearby villages. "We are targeting Guduvancheri panchayat union members, schoolteachers and village elders," he said.

WHO guidelines

The programme will follow the World Health Organisation guidelines. The need to wear protective footwear and to seek medical attention will be emphasised. The wounded portion should be immobilised and the patient should be transferred to a hospital within an hour. "The cure rate is more than 90-95 per cent when the patient comes on time." Herpatologist and toxicologist Ian David Simpson, now in the WHO Snakebite Treatment Group at Oxford University, will deliver lectures at the college and tour TTC Nagar, a nearby village.

Dr. Simpson is involved in research and educational programmes on reducing morbidity and mortality of snakebite in India. He is working with the armed forces in developing treatment protocols and epidemiology data.

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