The 11th International Snakebite Seminar was held at Turtle Bay Beach Club on 23rd and 24th of November, 2018. This was the first snakebite seminar without Sanda Ashe, who died earlier this year. James and Sanda would have been very proud of such a successful seminar, the high calibre line up of speakers and the huge, enthusiastic audience.
The Snake Bite Seminar was also open to the public and Turtle Bay guests for a small seminar fee. It was an honour to have the County Minister of Health, Dr Anisa Omar, open the meeting and pledge her support for the work done by the Anti-venom Trust.
The main focus of the seminar was to update all concerned on the correct treatment of venomous snakebite in Africa and to discuss the problems of snakebite management in remote areas and the complications faced by poor or rural communities. The serious shortage of good quality, affordable anti-venom in Africa was highlighted and recommendations on how to solve this were made. Many of the speakers were doctors who shared clinical experiences of snakebite cases with the audience and, in some cases, the recovered patients were also present.
With eminent speakers from Kenya, Australia, England, Swaziland, the Netherlands and South Africa, the audience (over 130 of them) were riveted for a two full days of presentations. As always, Turtle Bay Beach Club extended their warm hospitality to Bio-Ken by offering the largest of their conference rooms free of charge. This counts as a huge donation to the work that is done by Bio-Ken and the Anti-venom Trust. All the entry fees collected this year were donated to the Trust. Dr Anisa Omar, the Kilifi County Minister of Health, pledged her support to the Trust by donating a cheque for Ksh 200,000/= and agreed to work together in the long term to correct this problem in Kilifi County.
Bio-Ken is so grateful to the Watamu community for their support. These days fewer snakes and other reptiles get killed because people call Bio-Ken to remove and relocate. More people are seeking medical assistance when they get bitten by snakes, which goes to show that the education and community work is changing the attitudes of many and saving lives and limbs from untreated snakebite. Bio-Ken is a totally dedicated group of individuals ready to help animals and people alike.
- Bio-Ken Snake Farm is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm.
- Entrance is Ksh 1,000/= for adults and Ksh 500/= for children under 12.
- Bio-Ken has a 24 hour remove-a-snake hotline 0707 577748.
- For snakebite emergencies call 0718 290324 or 0729 403599 or Dr Erulu at Watamu Hospital on 0722 437423.