The Democratic Republic of Congo is at the Forefront of a Hidden Health Crisis

With vast jungles home to numerous species of venomous snakes, DR Congo is a hotspot of injury and death from snakebite envenomation, an issue highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières as a neglected crisis for Africa. Photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham has been documenting the issue and capturing close-up portraits of some of the world’s most dangerous snakes, for the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. As many as 2.7 million people are poisoned by snakes every year, resulting in between 81,000 and 137,000 deaths, with many more amputations and permanent disabilities, according to a recent WHO report. Traditional healer in the western city of Mbandaka uses herbs and a snake’s head that has been ground into powder then burnt before being rubbed into small razor wounds made on the arms of a snakebite victim. At the Tabe medical clinic in Mbandaka, doctors have little or no access to anti-venoms and is left providing symptomatic care for snakebites.SOURCE: BBC

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