Educating Young Minds for Snakebite Management and Conservation of Snakes in Mizoram, India

Lal Biakzuala

Snakebites are considered as neglected tropical diseases, yet in India, an estimated 1.2 million deaths had occurred between 2000 and 2019, with most of the cases being reported from the rural parts of the country. With several venomous snakes around having a positive perception towards snakes will be key for the safeguard and coexistence of humans and reptiles. Through the study, we aim to educate the frontline health workers and forest guards for the proper treatment of snakebite in Mizoram. We also plan to encourage young minds to develop as future conservationists by undertaking educational awareness programs.

Demonstration on snake bagging technique among the Forest Guards of Tawi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Demonstration on snake bagging technique among the Forest Guards of Tawi Wildlife Sanctuary.

The study will be important for the different sections of society and will have several health benefits and educational implications. Some of the practical outputs of the proposed study will include empowering health workers with adequate knowledge on snakebite management and guiding locals about pre-hospital care of snakebites will improve the pre-and in-hospital management of snakebite in the state; competence of health workers (Doctors, Nurses, and Emergency Medical Technician) to correctly identify the venomous snakes, the features of venomous bites, administration of appropriate first-aid measures are essential in the survival of envenomed cases, and they will be provided with necessary information on the distribution and diversity of snakes in the region. Training imparted to the forest officials and other volunteers through the workshops will help in proper handling, rescue, and relocations of snakes across the state of Mizoram. Active participation and gaining scientific-based knowledge through the educational awareness programs upon the local farmers, youths as well as school students will effectively aid in clearing misconceptions on snakebite treatment and bring about a change in stigma upon snakes. Wider circulation of guidelines on snakebite preventive measures will help reduce the number of snakebites in the state particularly in the rural part of Mizoram. It will bring together individuals from various sections of society. Outreaching programs for locals will help better understand the ecological benefits of snakes in the state, which will indeed encourage youths to take up herpetological studies in near future.

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