Snakebite: The World's Ignored Health Crisis
Peter Doherty Institute
Snakebite claims the lives of between 81,000 to 138,000 people each year, and hundreds of thousands more will live with lifelong disfigurement or receive amputations. But finally, after years of neglect, the voiceless victims are telling their story to the outside world. Snakebite is now a recognised as an official Neglected Tropical Disease by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This free event will feature a screening of the documentary Minutes to Die introduced by James Reid (Director, Minutes to Die) and a panel discussion featuring international and national snakebite experts.
About the Film: From a Kenyan hospital patient to a rice farmer in India, victims of venomous snakebites are the faces of a staggeringly widespread global crisis the world knows little about.
The documentary Minutes to Die takes viewers to the homes and hospital beds of snakebite victims, to labs where scientists are developing new, improved and cost-effective treatments, to a pivotal meeting of public health officials at the World Health Organization.
Unpacking the limitations of rural medical infrastructure, the economic challenges of antivenom, and the financial devastation to the families of snakebite victims—who are mostly agricultural workers and children—the film makes clear that this health issue is also very much an issue of poverty, inequity, and social justice.
Royjan Taylor, Bio-Ken Snake Farm
Bio-Ken Snake Farm
Director of BioKen Snake Farm in Watamu, Kenya. BioKen milks snakes for medical research and for the preparation of antivenom. They provide antivenom to treat victims of poisonous snakebite and, with the help of the James Ashe Antivenom Trust (JAAT), provide it free of charge to those unable to afford it.
Diana Barr, Global Snakebite Initiative
Global Snakebite Initiative
Diana Barr is a project coordinator for the Global Snakebite Initiative. She supports the community engagement and delivers community training packages across Papua New Guinea and other countries.
Romulus Whitaker, Madras Snake Park & Crocodile Bank
Madras Snake Park & Crocodile Bank
Founder of the Madras Snake Park and Crocodile Bank. His awards include Whitley Fund for Nature, Rolex, Peter Scott, Salim Ali, Order of the Golden Ark and the Government of India’s Padma Shri. Rom is now concentrating on the Indian Snakebite Mitigation Project which aims to drastically reduce the tragic loss of 50,000 men women and children who die from snakebite each year in India.
Dr David Williams, University of Melbourne
Dr David Williams
University of Melbourne
Head of the Australian Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne and Chair of the WHO Snakebite Envenoming Working Group. Dr Williams is also CEO of the internationally active nonprofit the Global Snakebite Initiative and has been a passionate advocate for snakebite victims for more than twenty years.