The Global Snakebite Crisis-A Public Health Issue Misunderstood, Not Neglected

Pakistan Medical Research Council.
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.2). 02/2009; 20(1):43-56. DOI: 10.1580/08-WEME-CON-263.1
Source: PubMed


The global problem of venomous snakebite continues to attract attention despite it being described as a "neglected" issue. The current focus of the World Health Organization (WHO) remains anti-snake venom quality, although "availability and sustainability" of supply are consistently described as the key issues. Sustainability of antivenom supply has been elusive, with cost and pricing in developing countries being cited as the major reasons. The current WHO approach fails to explore the cost issue, but rather focuses on quality improvements, which may well adversely affect the costs of a product already perceived to be 'unaffordable.' The reference to cost and price indicates a marketing-based perspective may well give more relevant solutions to the snakebite crisis. This paper introduces a marketing model to examine global snakebite and to identify if the current approach is relevant and effective. The "4 Ps" model examines if the correct products are available, whether sufficient information exists concerning estimated market size, whether the assumptions frequently made about the costs of the product are correct and fully understood, if the product is promoted properly, and whether the method by which the product reaches the end user is optimum. The resulting analysis demonstrates that the current approach is characterized by a misunderstanding of the nature of the global snakebite problem. Further, a lack of implementation of key solutions, such as training doctors in developing countries with relevant protocols, has inevitably led to a lack of improvement in the snakebite arena over the last 30 years.

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