Prioritisation of snakebite

Prioritisation of snakebite in the World Health Organization


Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease, with an estimated 138,000 deaths in a year globally, most of it in South Asia and Africa. In 2018, 31 countries unanimously passed a resolution to develop a roadmap to address the burden of snakebite in the 71st World Health Assembly. Consequently in 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a strategy to address snakebite and bring down its burden to 50% by 2030. The prioritisation of snakebite as a global health issue in the WHO is expected to lead to development of national and regional-level strategies as well as provision of funding across the world. However there is no research to understand how and why snakebite was prioritised in the WHO.


To understand how and why did snakebite became a priority in WHO leading to the development of the 71st WHA resolution to develop a roadmap to address its burden in 2018 and the subsequent development of the strategy in 2019?

Research Methodology

The study will use a case-study approach around the political prioritisation of snakebite in WHO using Schiffman’s framework (which identifies 10 factors in three categories - network and actor features; issue characteristics; policy environment) as a theoretical starting point. Key informant in-depth Interviews and document review (publicly available documents of WHO, published documents in medical journals or the media, documents referred by key informants) will be undertaken. Document analysis and key informant in-depth interviews will be integrated to enable triangulation of information for the case study.

Potential Impact

Understanding how and why snakebite became a global health priority will contribute to understanding of existing global responses to address snakebite and identify opportunities for further action to decrease its burden. It will also help understand the larger issue around prioritization of issues, particularly of neglected tropical diseases, within the WHO.

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