SURKHET, Aug 2: A 14-year-old girl has died of snake bite in a village of Surkhet as she was first rushed by her family to a church instead of a nearby health post for treatment.
Saraswoti Tarami of Kalyan VDC-5 of Surkhet was first taken by her family to pastor Dil Bahadur Gharti after being bitten by a krait on Wednesday night. She was not taken to the health post even as it is right on the way to the church.
Gharti had tried to save Saraswoti by reading bible for almost an hour. She was taken to a nearby sub-health post only after Gharti gave up. However, it was too late by the time she was taken to the health post.
Moreover, the family made further delays in taking the girl to Mid Western Regional Hospital, Birendranagar where she was referred to by the health post.
“Had the girl been brought to us, we might have saved her,” said assistant health worker Mitra Bahadur Nepali. “But, it was too late by the time she was brought to the health post.”
Saraswoti was taken to the regional hospital only at 5 am Thursday. She breathed her last before the hospital began treatment. “The girl´s house is just one-hour-drive from here. But, the family took over four hours to bring the girl here,” said Amar Rana, chief of emergency ward at the regional hospital. “Had we been able to start the treatment just two hours earlier, we could have easily saved her.”
According to Saraswoti´s elder sister Mangali, they preferred the church to the health post because the pastor claimed to have healing powers. “We used to go to the pastor even before,” said Mangali. “But, the pastor failed this time around.”
The doctors say people bitten by snakes die mostly because they are brought to the hospital late. As per the record book maintained by the emergency ward of the regional hospital, at least three people have died of snake bite in the past three months alone. In this same period, 45 people who got anti-venom vaccines on time have survived.
In Surkhet, anti-venom vaccines are available only at the regional hospital. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has decided to provide anti-venom vaccines even at primary health centers (PHCs). But, the PHCs are yet to receive vaccines.
“Anti-venom vaccines are expensive. In addition, we also need trained staff to administer these vaccines,” said Mukunda Gautam, chief of District Public Health Office of Surkhet. “This is why only the regional hospital has anti-venom vaccines.”