Ghana Medical Journal

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Secondary analysis of snake bite data in the Western Region of Ghana: 2006- 2010

Ebenezer K. Mensah, Kwaku Karikari, Moses Aikins, Linda Vanotoo, Samuel Sackey, Chima Ohuabunwo, Fred Wurapa, Tweneboah K Sifah, Edwin Afari


Background: A snake bite is an injury caused by a bite from a snake, often resulting in puncture wounds, amputations and sometimes envenomation. Envenoming resulting from snake bite is a particularly important public health problem in rural areas of tropical and sub-tropical countries in Africa. This paper reports the incidence of snake bites and its associated mortality in the Western Region of Ghana.

Method: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional review of 2006 - 2010 snake bite secondary data generated by the Western Regional Health Information Office in Ghana. Data was extracted from the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) database. Data was managed and analyzed using SPSS Version 16.0. Univariate analyses were expressed as percentages and graphs.

Results: The year 2009 recorded the highest incidence of Snake bites in the Western Region with Juabeso district recording the highest incidence of snake bites over the study period. Over the period about 55% of the incidence was between 50 – 100 per 100,000 population. The total number of snake bites recorded in the region for the period was 7,275, of which 52% (3,776) were males. About 60% of the patients were of the age group 15-49 years. A total of 12 reported snake bite deaths were recorded, of which 67% were men. This study recommends to the Districts Health Directorates in the Western Region to regularly organize community education on snake bite and the use of protective clothing by the farmers.

Funding: None declared

Keywords: Snake bite, Envenomation, Incidence, District Health Information Management System, Western Region, Ghana
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