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Our Stories

Snakebite Emergency

by | Jan 16, 2022 | HF Radio, What CRMF Does

According to the University of Melbourne’s research, Papua New Guinea (PNG), is considered to have one of the highest localized snakebite rates in the world.

This finding comes as no surprise since snakebite related cases are one of most common calls reported to MAF Technologies from the High Frequency (HF) radio. Usually these calls are from remote communities seeking medical assistance or medical evacuation for snakebite patients.

Since the start of the year 2022, we’ve received numerous calls related to snakebite victims. A recent report was of a 28 year old father from the remote village of Nipa in Kutubu. He was bitten by a poisonous deathadder snake on a Sunday morning and was rushed to the nearby Mt. Bosavi Clinic to seek treatment, but due to the limited supplies of anti-snake bite venom’s and other vital medications it was difficult to treat the patients at the remote clinic so they sought help from MAF Technologies (CRMF) to assist by arranging urgent medevac for the patient to the nearest Mendi Hospital.

The 28 year old snakebite patient was in critical condition, but fortunately, a North Coast Aviation charted plane landed in Mt. Bosavi and was asked by MAF Technologies to provide transport for the patient to Mt. Hagen General Hospital where he received immediate help and medical treatment. 

A map showing roughly where the patient got bitten to where he sought help at the Mt. Bosavi Clinic. 

There are several challenging factors that contribute towards the limited access to snakebite medication and treatment, one including the high cost of the essential medicine and also the remoteness of the rural communities and their clinic posts making it impossible to supply or receive lifesaving medication and snakebite antivenom.

It is cases like this that makes us appreciate what we do as a program that is ready to provide constant 24/7 communication for our remote communities so that they are able to receive the needed help and services that they need.