The rainy season in Sub-Saharan Africa brings out a variety of venomous snakes, notably the Black Mamba and the Mozambique Spitting Cobra, which can accurately spit tissue destroying venom over a distance of several meters. The spitting cobra is known to aim at the eyes of whoever it’s feeling threatened by. It’s an especially hazardous time for agricultural workers. According to CNN:
An estimated 32,000 people in the region are killed each year by snakebites, and a further 100,000 are left disabled, often by severe injuries that require limb amputations. But despite the scale of the crisis, specialists in the field say the response has been sorely lacking.
Many people prefer to visit faith healers instead of medical clinics, “which can be a fatal decision as fast-acting venom can kill within hours.” Another complication is that many of these communities are isolated, and have challenges accessing medical facilities with staff who are trained to recognize specific snakebites.
This is a disease involving the poorest farmers…for which the treatment is expensive and poorly understood by the health authorities, health personnel and populations…Snakebite is a grossly and tragically neglected disease because it affects poor people who have no voice.