A NINE-year-old girl, who was bitten by a Death Adder snake, died at a remote health facility in Western , Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, the National Newspaper reports.
There was no antivenom drugs to treat her.
Dotomona health worker Titus Yabua recalled feeling helpless with no aid to spare the girl’s life when she was first brought in.
He said everything was like a dream.
“I can still remember her smile as she was battling with the snake’s venom until she took her last breath. I was helpless, with no aid to spare her a chance to live.
“When the girl was brought to the aid post, her parents were relieved; they have finally arrived at the hospital and medical help will be provided.
“I was lost for words; how will I tell them there is no antivenom for snake bites at the clinic?
“It took me a long time to find the right words to say, advising them that I will help take their daughter to Rumginae hospital, some kilometres away.
“I told them that it is a serious case and the hospital there will provide the best treatment.
“With no proper road access, and helicopter being the only mode of transport to the hospital, we could not do anything.
“The parents continued urging me to treat their daughter with antivenom drugs while they will go and find an alternate transport.
“That was when I had to tell them the painful truth … there are no antivenom drugs available right now.”
The parents had brought in their daughter at 9pm (Monday). As it was, the venom had spread its toxicity throughout the victim’s bloodstream, “so we tried giving her natural herbs and advised her to drink a lot of water … and we will seek help the next day”.
“I was whispering silent prayers that I believed kept her throughout the night. At 3am (Tuesday), as I was keeping a close watch on her, she took her last breath.
“Her parents broke down in tears. I was sitting there feeling totally helpless, telling myself I had failed as a community health worker.
“We waited until dawn for them to take the body back home.
“Vehicles cannot access the narrow bush track so we had to cover her body in bags and tie the corpse onto a log for the men to carry her back to the village.”
The deceased, Enie Edward, was bitten on her ankle when she went to fetch water at a nearby creek at around 3pm. And it took an excruciating six-hour walk for her parents to reach the hospital from Busuba village, bothering Hela and Western.
Yabua said at most times, he would refer his patients to the Rumginae and Kiunga hospitals as there were no proper drugs.
And he wanted a solar panel, battery and accessories to power the fridge to store vaccines and anti-venoms.
“Most medical drugs get spoiled as there is no proper cooling equipment,” adding there was also no TB kit to treat patients.
“I urge the Government to give priority to aid posts and hospitals in remote areas where half of the population lives with little-to-no basic services,” Yabua said.
The aid post was established in the 1980s and provides outpatient, antenatal and family planning services, servicing about 18 villages with a population of about 5,000.
Just like other remote health centres, Yabua needed basic medical supplies such as antibiotics, antimalarial drugs, analgesics, antiseptics and family planning kits, among others.
The National / PNGfacts
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