Awareness and perceptions on prevention, first aid and treatment of snakebites among Sri Lankan farmers: A knowledge practice mismatch?

Anjana Silva, Faiz Marikar, Arumugam Murugananthan, Suneth Agampodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Snakebite is a global health problem associated with high morbidity and mortality. In Sri Lanka, snakebite is mainly an occupational health hazard associated with farming. Understanding awareness and perceptions in risk populations on the preventive measures, first aid and treatment for snakebite becomes pivotal in designing snakebite prevention and control programs. Using an investigator assisted self completed questionnaire, we assessed the awareness and perceptions of 176 part-time and full-time, Chena and paddy farmers from three dry zone districts of Sri Lanka where agriculture is the main economic activity. Findings. High percentages of the participants were aware of practices that minimize snakebites in houses and outside, available treatments and most of the recommended first aid measures. Western medical treatment was preferred by the vast majority of the farmers over the traditional treatment. Conclusion: Some of the protective measures that the farmers were aware of are not practiced generally in Sri Lanka, suggesting a knowledge-practice mismatch. We suggest studies to understand the effects of socioeconomic and cultural determinants on snakebite prevention in Sri Lanka.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Farming
  • Prevention
  • Snakebite

Cite this