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Title: Beliefs and knowledge regarding snakebite in rural Sri Lanka: a qualitative survey
Authors: Makita, L.S.
Nandasena, S.
Costa, M.R.A.
Kasturiratne, A.
Pathmeswaran, A.
Lalloo, D.G.
de Silva, H.J.
Keywords: Snake Bites
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Sri Lanka Medical Association
Citation: Sri Lanka Medical Association, 116th Anniversary Academic Sessions. 2003; 40
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To identify common beliefs and assess knowledge regarding snakebite in rural Sri Lanka, and their influence on health-seeking behaviour. METHODS: Qualitative methods (focus group discussions and key informant interviews) were used to obtain data in five rural locations in wet, intermediate and dry zones. Data was subjected to "framework analysis" involving familiarisation, identification of thematic frame, indexing and coding, charting, mapping, and interpretation. RESULTS: People are aware of risk-behaviour associated with snakebite, and have reasonable knowledge regarding venomous and non-venomous snakes. However, differences in nomenclature sometimes lead to confusion in identifying species. Beliefs and legends, which are linked to religion, have lead people to respect the cobra. Traditional healers claim they can determine the snake species, clinical manifestations that may occur, and prognosis, based on phenomena, such as, day of the week and phase of the moon when the bite took place. They still employ treatment methods, such as wound incision with broken glass and scalp incision for applying potions. Although there is respect for traditional healing, there is acceptance of the efficacy of western medicine. Beliefs, such as, anti-venom though effective is toxic, long-term effects of snake venom can be completely neutralised only by traditional medicine, and producing the dead snake is essential for treatment in hospitals, lead people to seek treatment by traditional healers rather than in hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Beliefs and misconceptions influence health-seeking behaviour following snakebite. There seems to be a growing acceptance of western medicine. However, traditional healing methods are still popular, but include harmful^rjractices. This information could form a basis for. educational intervention.
Description: Oral Presentation Abstract (OP 26), 116th Anniversary Academic Sessions, Sri Lanka Medical Association, 26-29 March 2003 Colombo, Sri Lanka
ISSN: 0009-0895
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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