Introduction: Extensive spread of COVID-19 meant action to address the pandemic took precedence, over routine service delivery, thus impacting access to care for many health conditions, including snakebite.
Method: We prospectively collected facility-level data from multiple health facilities (HFs) in India, including number of snakebite admissions and snakebite envenoming admissionson modality of transport to reach the HF . To analyze the the effect of a HF being in cluster-containment zone, we used negative binomial regression analysis.
Result: Our findings suggest that that HFs located within a COVID containment zone saw significant decrease in total snakebite admissions [IRR = 0.64(0.43 to 0.94),SE=0.13,P>|z|=0.02) ] and envenoming snakebite admissions[IRR = 0.43(0.23 to 0.81), SE=0.14, P>|z|=0.01] , compared to when HFs were not within a COVID containment zone. There was no statistically significant difference in non-envenoming admissions, and modalities of transport used to reach HF.
Conclusion: The article provides the first quantitative estimation of the impact of COVID-19 containment measures on access to snakebite care. More research is needed to understand how containment measures altered care-seeking pathway and the nature of snake-human-environment conflict. Primary healthcare systems need to be safeguarded for snakebite care to mitigate effects of cluster-containment measures.