Costs of implementation — WHO’s budget will be used to deliver solutions in the field. Thus, 54.1% will be for activities in countries where snakebite is a public health problem, with regional support and collaboration (17.1%). The cost of work by WHO technical departments will account for the remaining 28.8% of the budget. The number of countries involved will increase over the next 11 years as resources are mobilized and capacity built. The success of the programme during the first 2–4 years will determine whether support can be found for the full 12-year strategy.
A disease whose time has come — Snakebite envenoming is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that is responsible for enormous suffering, disability and premature death on every continent. As over 5.8 billion people are at risk of encountering a venomous snake, it is not surprising but no less tragic that almost 7400 people every day are bitten by snakes, and 220–380 men, women and children die as a result (1, 2, 3), adding up to about 2.7 million cases of envenoming and 81000–138 000 deaths a year.
A comprehensive strategy — For millions of men, women and children around the world, the risk of snakebite is a daily concern as they go about their everyday activities – walking to school, tending gardens, herding livestock, fetching water or simply going to the toilet – where a misplaced step, a momentary lapse of concentration or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be fatal.
A multifocal incremental response by countries — The strategy is based on existing resources, skills and experience while looking ahead to next-generation solutions.