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Public Lecture by Mr. Jonathan Majamanda Highlights Health-Seeking Behaviors of Snakebite Victims in Thyolo District

On May 30, 2024, Mr. Jonathan Majamanda, the head of the Biomedical Sciences department at Malawi Adventist University, delivered a public lecture at Burnham Hall, Malamulo College of Health Sciences. His presentation focused on a study he conducted regarding the factors influencing health-seeking behaviors of snakebite victims living around selected tea plantations in Thyolo district, Malawi.

The study highlighted that snakebite is a global yet neglected public health issue, affecting 1.2 to 5.5 million people worldwide each year. According to the research findings, the health-seeking behaviors of snakebite victims in the study involved seeking treatment either at a public health hospital facility or from a traditional healer. Among the 54 participants, 34 (62.96%) sought help from traditional healers, while 17 (31.48%) went to the hospital.

The study shed light on the common health-seeking choices for snakebite victims and the factors influencing these choices. The primary health-seeking behaviors identified were visiting traditional healers or hospitals. The significant factor for choosing traditional healers was a belief in traditional medicine, whereas proximity to a hospital, the availability of specific treatments, and lower costs were significant factors for those who chose to go to the hospital.

Mr. Majamanda emphasized that policy formulation and implementation should focus on improving access to healthcare services, raising awareness, and promoting public health. These measures are essential for addressing the factors influencing health-seeking behaviors and ensuring better outcomes for snakebite victims.