Giving Compass' Take:

• Mike Turner reports on a relatively unnoticed yet extremely prevalent global health crisis: snakebites.  

• How can donors draw more attention to this health problem? What other hidden health crises are there?

• On the other side of this, here's how snake venom might help cure cancer. 

Despite affecting a huge number of people, it’s rare to hear snakebite spoken about as a health problem. But the global burden of death and disability due to snakebites is the same as prostate or cervical cancer; it’s higher than infectious diseases like rabies or dengue fever.

Snakebites kill between 80,000 and 140,000 people every year: one person for every five minutes. Another 400,000 people suffer life-changing injuries, amputations and psychological trauma.

These numbers are almost certainly an underestimate, too. Many bites and deaths go unrecorded. That’s why Kofi Annan, a former Secretary-General of the UN, describes snakebite as the “biggest public health crisis you have likely never heard of”.

But it shouldn’t be. Snakebites are treatable. People who get the right, well-made antivenom have a very high chance of survival. While venomous snakes will continue to bite people, there’s no reason so many of those people should die. Clearly, the way the world currently responds to the challenge of snakebites is not right – now it’s time to choose a different path.

Read the full article about snakebites as world's biggest health crisis by Mike Turner at LinkedIn.