Over 700 snake bites victims from different areas of Benue State in 2020 survived after treatment at Bishop Murray Memorial Hospital in Makurdi.
Reverend Father Peter Kpaleve, the Health Coordinator Catholic Dioceses of Makurdi in charge of the hospital, made this known on Monday when Governor Samuel Ortom visited the facility to access the condition of victims of alleged herders’ attacks.
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Kpaleve said the Catholic-owned Bishop Murray hospital is renowned for the treatment of people who suffer snake bites even though it does not treat only snake bites.
He said: “Today the Governor is here to see those who were shot by Fulani herdsmen and those who are sick.
“He extended his magnanimity to those who are lying critically ill by paying the hospital bills as well as other staff who had other challenges.
“He made sure that he took care of the challenges.
“We are grateful for your cooperation and help to the Catholic Church and by extension the health system in the Catholic Dioceses of Makurdi.
“It was because of the effort of Governor Samuel Ortom that nobody came to the hospital last year (2020) for snakebite treatment and died. And more than 700 people came here and none of them died.
“The treatment for snake bike is quite expensive and those bitten most times are peasants who cannot afford the treatment.
“But they have all been receiving free treatment because of the intervention of Governor Ortom.
“His assistance and support has also helped to elevate the facility to one of the best hospitals in Benue state.”
Responding, Governor Ortom commended the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Dioceses for the cooperation and support to his government in the area of healthcare delivery, education and in moulding the character of children as well as being upright in supporting the policies of the government.
He explained that the snake bites victims programme started in the year 2000 when he discovered that the hospital has the capacity, the wherewithal and expertise in treating snake bites.
Ortom added: “Like he rightly said, last year alone we successfully treated over 700 victims after which they went back home.
“Snakes bites are very dangerous and most times you survive them by the grace of God. And in this hospital, victims have been treated successfully.
“As we talk I know that I have an accumulated bill of over a N70million but the hospitals keep treating the victims for us.
“I think that they have lived beyond expectations as a Church that is ready to support mankind through humanitarian work.
“When we started the programme, it was for people who could not afford the treatment but somehow people from all over the place started coming and we could not refuse to treat them.”
The governor stressed that the project, which he started many years ago to help poor people survive snake bites, would continue to bring succour to victims.