Jesus Ashi Pico, 12 years old, died after he was bitten by a snake. The priest of the parish at the Yukpa native Venezuelan community, father Nelson Sandoval, and relatives of the victims in the Sierra de Perija are desperate for antivenom serum.
People denounced they are lacking the antidote in the health centers of the area for a year ago. This represents a danger of death because in the zone snakes are very common. Another worry, there is no fuel to mobilize to the health-care centers.
“The El Tukuko clinic has been without antivenom serum for over a year. Last week a child died. This is very painful because the child died from multiple causes. Firstly, the family lives in the mountains; secondly, because there is no gasoline in his community, and then, of course, the lack of the serum,” reported the parish priest.
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No fuel, no treatment
Jesus Ashi Pico was bitten by a Mapanare snake on Friday, May 1st, in the community of Santa Catalina, located near the Shukumo River, which is four hours away from walking, from El Tukuko. The venom of the Mapanare is considered particularly deadly.
The priest said that the event happened at night and that the distance between his community and El Tukuko prevented them from moving him at that time. The second factor was the lack of fuel to move him on a motorbike.
“From Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May, his relatives went to the traditional indigenous medicine, but at dawn on Sunday, the child did not improve. They decided to send a person on foot to the clinic of El Tukuko to ask for help, and to look for a motorbike to go to the clinic,” said the priest.
In the community clinic, he received only first aid and was transferred to the Hospital in Machiques. In none of the health- centers were the serum to stop the coagulation of blood due to poisonous bites.
Because of this situation, the child went to the Hospital in Maracaibo, two and a half hours away from Machiques. He received care but died on May 4.
Father Nelson Sandoval pointed out that “the terrible thing about the situation is that the indigenous people live in a jungle area with many Mapanare snakes, and the simple fact that there is no serum in the clinic is fatal. Here, the snakes are very big. I’ve seen two-meter-long Mapanares. This can’t continue to happen, the clinic must have serum”.
Mapanare presence increases during the current rainy season in the Sierra.