Costa Rica leads discussions on draft resolution to address global burden of snakebite envenoming
30 October 2017 | Geneva –– A consultation on the development of a document calling for strengthening of efforts to reduce and control the impact of snakebite envenoming took place on Monday 30th October at the United Nations in Geneva.
Initiated and led by the Republic of Costa Rica, and co-sponsored by the Republic of Colombia, the informal consultative meeting considered the wording of a draft resolution that calls on UN Member States and the WHO to accelerate and improve coordination of efforts to reduce the global burden of sickness, disability and death caused by snakebites.
Snakebite envenoming kills between 81 000 and 138 000 people, and leaves up to 400 000 more people permanently disabled every year. The World Health Organization declared snakebite envenoming to be a priority neglected tropical disease earlier this year, and is taking steps to develop a road map plan to help guide international efforts to reduce these statistics.
Monday’s meeting involved representatives of Permanent Missions from a number of Member States, as well as WHO staff and technical experts on snakebite envenoming. A second meeting to finalise the draft resolution will take place on Friday 3rd November.
Ambassador Elaine Whyte from the Republic of Costa Rica’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said that “This draft resolution provides a comprehensive approach to reduce the burden of snakebite envenoming on a global basis, and Costa Rica has a strong commitment to lead this initiative, which has already been endorsed by many countries”.
The resolution agreed upon during these consultations will be presented to the WHO’s Executive Board Meeting in January 2018.
Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder, Team Leader of the zoonotic Neglected Tropical Diseases unit, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases says that “The strong efforts by Member States to improve recognition of this important disease that effect the same populations as many of the other NTDS are extremely encouraging, and offer an opportunity to coordinate a sustained response with key partners to save lives and prevent disabilities”.