Monks, Villagers in Kamawet purchase snake antivenom

Thu 25 Jun 2009, Asah,IMNA
In Moulmein hospitals and smaller clinics in Moulmein Township, snake antivenom is hard to come by.

“In the previous years, we have seen people die from snakebites in Kamawet village. Sometimes we didn’t have the medicine in my village and they had to go to the Moulmein hospital, but they might still die,” said the presiding monk of the Lawimanhtaw Buddhist monastery.

The presiding monk formed a committee on June 20th to address this issue for Kamawet villagers. There are many poisonous snakes there, and yet the antivenom is incredibly scarce.

A source close to the presiding monk said that they wanted to have readily accessible antivenom in their village government hospital. His next step was unorthodox: he phoned to the Southeast Command Central in Moulmein to General Htet Naing Win’s wife and requested her help in getting the antivenom.

The General’s wife told the monk that it is very difficult to obtain this, and they should try to buy it in Myawaddy, along the Thai-Burma border.

The monk then announced to the nee committee that they would do just that. They went around all of Kamawet village to take donations and raised 800,000 kyat to buy antivenom.

The presiding monk told IMNA reporters that, as one bottle of antivenom costs 20,000 kyat, many villagers are currently unable to afford it, and this will provide them with the cure for free.

“If the villager is poor and bit by a snake, they can get [the antivenom] in the Village Government hospital for free. But if the villager has money, they will be asked to pay 20,000 kyat per bottle.”

Though the committee meeting occurred five days ago, they have so far only put in the order in Myawaddy for the antivenom.

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