The ministries of Health and Agriculture have collaborated on the establishment of a Centre for Excellence for Snake Bite Education.
On Sep. 21, health practitioners on the west coast participated in a training session to bring awareness to snake species in Saint Lucia.
Public Health Nurse Supervisor, Yasmine Gabriel, said the training is in-line with plans to make the Anse La Raye Wellness Centre a hub for snake bite education.
“The Anse La Raye Wellness Centre is going to be renamed the Centre of Excellence for Snake Bite Education. We do not treat snake bites in our Wellness Centres but we believe that the most crucial measure in reducing fatalities from snake bites is education. So we are starting to educate our staff.”
The session covered topics ranging from how to identify venomous snakes and how to protect oneself. Nurses from the Anse La Raye, Vanard, and Canaries Wellness Centres were in attendance.
At present, Saint Lucia’s snake population consists of four species, one of which is venomous. Assistant Chief Forestry Officer, Pius Haynes, said being able to differentiate is very important.
“The training was more focused on the snakes endemic to Saint Lucia and their identification. It also covered how can we distinguish between the Saint Lucia Boa and the Saint Lucia Fer-de-Lance, because persons have had a lot of issues identifying one from the other. The sessions also discussed ecological requirements, where you are most likely to encounter a Fer-de-Lance and a Boa and what their diets are composed of.”
While Region Seven is a well-known snake habitat, the Forestry Division is reporting an increase in snake sightings around the island.
The Assistant Chief Forestry Officer assures the public that the lifesaving anti-venom available at the Owen King EU Hospital, is always on readily on hand.
SOURCE: Ministry of Health