Snakebite claims the lives of between 81,000 to 138,000 people each year, and hundreds of thousands more will live with lifelong disfigurement or receive amputations. But finally, after years of neglect, the voiceless victims are telling their story to the outside world. Snakebite is now a recognised as an official Neglected Tropical Disease by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The documentary Minutes to Die, directed by James Reid takes viewers to the homes and hospital beds of snakebite victims, to labs where scientists are developing new, improved and cost-effective treatments, to a pivotal meeting of public health officials at the World Health Organisation.
Unpacking the limitations of rural medical infrastructure, the economic challenges of antivenom, and the financial devastation to the families of snakebite victims—who are mostly agricultural workers and children—the film makes clear that this health issue is also very much an issue of poverty, inequity, and social justice.
An advocacy short, with scenes from our larger traveling documentary was played at the World Health Organisation to inspire member states to, just recently and successfully, add snakebite back onto the Neglected Tropical Diseases list.