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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 519-524

Awareness of Indian medical practitioners about snakebite and its management – Is there a need to re-evaluate medical training?

Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Kunal Chatterjee
Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Sholapur Road, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_256_19

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Background: Snakebite envenomation is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with India contributing to the majority of cases. Effective management is important to mitigate the impact of the condition. Medical practitioners dealing with snakebite victims need to be thoroughly aware of the current guidelines to provide effective care.Objectives: The aim of this study is to determine the knowledge and awareness of Indian medical practitioners about the current guidelines regarding the management of snakebite and their opinion about the cogency of their undergraduate medical training regarding the subject.Materials and Methods: Allopathic practitioners currently practicing in India were administered a pretested questionnaire to assess their knowledge about epidemiology, diagnosis, and the treatment of snakebite.Results: Of the 143 practitioners in the study, 79.4% underestimated the burden of morbidity due to snakebite in India. About 6.8% had correct knowledge about the number of species of the highest medical importance. About 52.2%, 91.7%, and 20.2% were aware of the common presentation of Common Krait, other neurotoxic elapids (e.g., Indian Cobra) and Viper envenomation, respectively. About 32.6% had correct knowledge about the management of adverse reactions to anti-snake venom. About 72.3% responded that their undergraduate medical education was inadequate to deal with snakebite and 91.4% responded that the topic of snakebite needs more emphasis at the undergraduate level.Conclusions:The current undergraduate medical education in India, about the management of snakebite is limited to outdated concepts or those gained from Western literature, leading to gaps in knowledge in several key areas. A clinically oriented approach suited to the Indian scenario needs to be emphasized.

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