Karnataka gets first-of-its-kind WhatsApp chatbot for snakebite awareness – ET HealthWorld


Bengaluru: To create more awareness about snake bite prevention as well as to prevent snake chasethe first of its kind whatsapp chatbot has been launched in Mysuru of Karnataka. Incidentally, in February Karnataka also became the first state in India to declare snakebite as a notifiable disease. The chatbot, launched by Humane Society International (HSI) India in collaboration with The Liana Trust, an organization that participates in conservation efforts by educating people, provides easy-access information about snake species found in Mysuru.

They also provide life-saving first aid, life-prevention advice and debunking myths about misinformation about snakes that can lead to acts of cruelty. “Snakebite is a massive problem that requires a massive solution. According to our survey in Mysuru district, WhatsApp is one of the most used digital applications. Therefore, this is an easy platform to reach many people with information vital that could save human lives and prevent the persecution of snakes.

Just as it is important to prevent a bite, knowing the right first aid once a bite occurs is also crucial,” said Vinod Krishnan, Human-Wildlife Coexistence Manager at HSI India. According to Krishnan, people have an innate fear of snakes mainly due to a lack of information about them, this often leads to snakes being killed or relocated to strange habitats where they have little chance of survival. The chatbot is intended to address this information gap and empower local communities. to take quick and informed action when snakes are found. The automated chatbot, accessed via a QR code or by sending a “Hello” message to +91 9154190472, disseminates engaging visual content in English or Kannada, making it easy to understand. The aim is to reach at least one lakh users this year to encourage coexistence. nearly 2 lakh morbidity cases in Karnataka alone reported 6,500 snakebites in 2023, according to a press release issued by HSI India. It is also a neglected tropical disease classified by the World Health Organizationtaking a devastating toll on the socioeconomic situation of households and the mental health of those affected, according to the statement.

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Gerry Martin, founder of The Liana Trust, said the chatbot will also help policymakers. “The chatbot is a great way to have an ongoing dialogue with the community, evaluate the information they access most frequently and add more layers such as information about the nearest hospital, ambulance services, etc. in the future.”

By the way, India launched the National action plan for the prevention of snakebite poisoning – a potentially fatal disease caused by toxins contained in the bite of a venomous snake, according to the WHO – on March 12, which ordered states to draw up their plans to halve deaths and disabilities due to snake bites by 2030.

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  • Updated On Jun 1, 2024 at 11:26 AM IST
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  • Published on June 1, 2024 at 11:20 am IST
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  • 2 min read
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