Aditya Vaibhav | The TrickyScribe: Bihar has third-largest number of snakebite deaths in India. Purpose of this workshop is to explore the factors related to human-snake conflicts in Bihar. On the basis of these findings, various strategies can be proposed to reduce the incidence of snakebites. The TrickyResuer aspires the same. India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal are planned to be taken up during the first phase.
Data was collected from over 600 patients in a hospital in districts located on the Indo-Nepal international border.
Only those with a known history of snakebite were considered. Brought dead patients with symptoms of envenomation but no known bites were also included.
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Adolescents in the 10-19 year age group are the peak group (more than 25%) for snakebite with a slight preponderance of males (more than half). More than half of the bites were reported in the foot-ankle region. The rate of envenomation was slightly over 12%. Mortality rate of those envenomed who reached the hospital alive was very less, somewhere close to 6%. Fourteen were dead on arrival.
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It was found that more than 75% of people were unable to identify what, or what type of snake, attacked them. Common Wolf Snakes (Lycodon aulicus), followed by Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja) were the most reported ones attacking humans. Cobras were successfully identified while Common Wolf Snakes were incorrectly identified as Kraits.
HIGH-FREQUENCY SLOTS: Highest monthly frequency of snakebites was reported between June and September. Highest frequency occurred between 5 pm and 10 pm on a daily basis. More than 35% of the snake bites were reported in the aforementioned slot.
More than half the bites were reported in and around the house. Farming, housework, sleeping, playing and defecating in fields were the activities were reported while being bitten. Sleeping on the floor increased the risk of envenomation, while using a mosquito net while sleeping decreased the risk of envenomation.
How Does The TrickyRescuer Work?
The TrickyRescuer is an ambitious project that aims at training volunteers simultaneously for snake rescue besides first aid and eventual rehabilitation of snakebite victim(s). The idea is one of a kind combining technical superiority with trained enthusiastic volunteers that help not just with the identification of the snake species but also the subsequent rescue & evacuation manoeuvres.
Identification of the snake besides knowledge of post-bite symptoms can prove critical as far as saving lives is concerned. We plan The TrickyRescuer which not only elaborates on the parameters that can help identify the species but we’ll also empower the trainees with social media tools so that they may spread the word in a better magnitude.
What Makes Rescuing Snakes Tricky?
Of the snake species found in India, only a small share is found to be venomous making identification the most crucial part. Snakes like Common Wolf Snake and Krait resemble each other as far as physical appearance is concerned.
The resemblance does not mean a lot as Common Wolf Snakes hardly contain any venom while Kraits are known to give painful deaths to their victims. This physical similarity made it difficult for any automated system to help in the identification of the snake species involved. No need to download any App!
Need for Technological Intervention
Researchers & rescuers of The TrickyScribe had been helping people in case a snake was found hissing in the residential/ commercial spaces. Geared by the exceptional programming skills of the in-house web-development team have rolled out a technical intervention that allows people to click a snap of the snake circulating the photograph in the pool of its local rescuers. As part of the standard operating procedure, the rescuers rush to the point of occurrence in case the snake is found venomous. For the other cases, the informants are made aware of the “harmlessness” of the species involved.
What To Do In Case A Snake Is Around?
All anyone has to do is to log on the thetrickyscribe.com from your phone and tap the bubble icon on the Bottom-Right of the smartphone screen. On the chatbox that then appears on the screen, one has to tap “Click here to SEND the snake’s PHOTO for IMMEDIATE HELP” to enter The TrickyRescuer WhatsApp group wherein they can send the photo of the snake that was found hissing in their commercial/residential space. The resource persons in the group will help in the identification and subsequent rescue of the snake involved if found venomous.
TITLE: ‘The TrickyRescuer’ in all the 731 districts of India – (4 hours each, two hours each in pre- and post-lunch sessions). Batch of 50 candidates to be trained at a time
DURATION: Four days
WEBSITE URL: thetrickyscribe.com.
Day 01: Three hours of text and visual training for snake identification plus one hour specialized training for social media. The module will include photographs and videos of the respective species shot during day and night besides pin pointed first aid tips for saving lives.
Day 02: Three hours of text and visual training for snake identification plus one hour specialized training for social media.
Day 03: Three hours of text and visual training for snake identification plus one hour specialized training for social media.
Day 04: LIVE DEMO + ONLINE TEST
PLAN TO SOLICIT PARTICIPATION
Information about The TrickyRescuer would be published on the network of in-house websites and on social media channels encouraging the youth, for participating in the workshop. We have planned several steps that go beyond an email. This will be one such planned initiative that will take corporate houses beyond routine afforestation drives. Unplanned plantation is commonplace!
Also, the workshop is being planned keeping in mind the upcoming monsoons so to include many more volunteers before the spell starts. Text, photographs and videos will be shared with the trainees on WhatsApp so that they have the information handy. The same is shared with those who could not attend the training in-person to hint them better about the species encountered. Spreading the word will be easier. Also, the workshop is being planned so as to include many more volunteers in the upcoming seasons.
The list of trainees will give us an active database of professionally trained rescue & first aid volunteers to be pressed into community service as and when needed. Local volunteers are to be given priority for their expertise in the colloquial language and the proficiency in local customs. Local volunteers mean lesser time to be spent in transit thereby implying immediate help.
The TrickyRescuer aspires at developing a chain of medical assistance facilities that can provide immediate medical attention to the victims in case of snakebites. Government hospitals are to be included free of cost for they extend treatment at very nominal rates while the private hospitals are to be charged for being listed. The idea is to remunerate the volunteers, or at least draw their expenses, from the same listing cost making community service a viable business model. The idea is to include rescuers of other forms of wildlife in the later stages.
(Story published originally on September 15, 2019 an updated only with the video on November 28, 2019)