The Global Snakebite Initiative Limited (GSI) is a registered non-profit, charitable organisation, based in Australia, but with global membership, and established to provide a collaborative framework to address the neglected global tragedy of snakebite envenoming.
Snakebite envenoming is a particularly cruel misery inflicted on many of the most impoverished, mostly rural, populations throughout the world, particularly in the tropics. Each year, thousands of snakebite victims die, or are permanently maimed, because of a lack of effective treatments – treatments that are readily available in wealthy countries.
Snakebite remains one of the most neglected of all tropical ‘diseases’, and it was only in 2009 that the World Health Organisation (WHO) added snakebite envenoming to its own list of recognised ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ (NTDs). That snakebite impacts so many lives, and yet receives so little official recognition is a stark testament to a lack of effective advocacy on behalf of snakebite victims by governments and others concerned about public health.
The Global Snakebite Initiative was founded to give a voice to the forgotten victims of snakebite in poor, mostly rural, communities around the world.
Our objectives are to:
- To improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of snakebite injuries in human beings in Developing Countries.
- To achieve significant improvements in outcomes for snakebite patients in Developing Countries with measurable key performance indicators based on incidence, morbidity, mortality and reductions in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
We believe that the approach we need to take to achieve these objectives involves establishing programs to directly impact the problems of snakebite envenoming in specific locations around the world, and that can do this through activities which incorporate:
- Targeted snakebite prevention and first aid promotion activities in specific
settings and for high risk groups;
- Assembly and dissemination of available information on appropriate
medical treatment of snakebite, including development of consensus
protocols, treatment guidelines and training materials;
- Establishment of an investment fund to finance purchases of existing
antivenoms for distribution to medical facilities in Developing Countries,
and to finance research and development aimed at delivering safe,
effective and affordable antivenom products into markets that currently lack
adequate supply, on a cost recovery basis;
- Coordination of epidemiological surveillance through the establishment of
research networks in Developing Countries and by deploying standardised
recording, reporting and data analysis tools to enable reliable estimation of
snakebite burden and resource needs;
- Provision of expert advocacy on behalf of snakebite victims at local, national and international level, to raise awareness of the extent of the problem, and to champion the call for adequate public health funding of snakebite by national governments of Developing Countries, development partners and public health institutions; and
- Coordination and promotion of scientific research into snakebite related problems by encouraging partnerships between scientists and medical professionals in developed and Developing Countries using a variety of means and resources.