According to the world Health Organization (WHO), snakebite envenoming (the poisonous secretion of an animal) is one of the widespread health concerns as it contributes to numerous deaths yearly. Sub-Saharan Africa is ranked second (first one being Asia) in terms of largest number of poisonous snake bites every year and the cases are between 100, 000 and 400, 000. Malawi is one of the countries where snakebites are prevalent especially in the rural areas because that is where people are more likely to come into contact with snakes. Though there is a wide range of venomous snakes in Malawi, the most common ones are the spitting cobra, puff adder and mamba.
One study shows that one of the areas where snakebites are common is Neno district situated in the southern region of Malawi; the research indicates that in 15 health facilities, 185 patients bitten by poisonous snakes from 2018 to 2021 were registered. This represents an annual average of 36 cases per 100, 000 population. However, it has to be pointed out that most snakebite cases go unreported hence, there are probably more cases.
Essentially, one of the chief contributors to this problem is that the district does not have tarmac roads in most parts, making it very hard to be accessed during the rainy season. This does not help in a sense that when it comes to treating snakebites, speed or timely treatment is one of the crucial factors to avert severe complications or worst case scenario, death.
This is where Delivery Glider AG- Jedsy comes in to remedy the situation through timely delivery of antivenom to the hospitals or health centers. Concisely, antivenom medicine is a medicine that is administered to stop venom from damaging tissues, causing nervous system problems and others. For best results, antivenom should be given as soon as possible after the bite however, it can also be given within the first 4 hours after the snakebite if not readily available.
In a situation where the antivenom is not readily available, using the conventional methods of delivering such as ambulances would not be ideal as time would ran out for the medicine to work effectively. Thus, the Jedsy technology would be superlative in this case; for context a Jedsy drone can deliver a package in 100km radium in approximately 1 hour which is within the 4 hour window for administering antivenom to a snakebite patient. The speed and efficiency of the drone is perfect for covering a long distance in a short period of time since drones fly in a straight path in addition to maneuvering and accessing remote and hard-to-reach areas provided the area has internet connectivity.
Besides, the Jedsy method is extremely cost-effective because delivering medical supplies using drones is better than traditional methods such as ground transportation. This is particularly important in resource-constrained settings like rural areas of Malawi where health systems may have limited funding for medical supplies.
Venomous snakebites are widespread in Malawi as such, quick and safe delivery of antivenom should be part of the sustainable and long-term solution. Fortunately, Jedsy through rapid and effective delivery, will be a crucial part of the stakeholders helping in addressing snakebite cases in Malawi when there is need.