Why is our Mobility Worldwide founder talking about snake bites?

Maker of the PET Mobility Cart since 1994.
Will you help those who have been bitten by snakes?
Mobility Worldwide MO-Columbia Update: 1,229 built since 1-1-17

When in 1994, the missionary Larry Hills asked me to develop the three-wheeled hand-cranked wheelchair (originally called PET), the immediate need in Zaire was for the victims of polio and landmines. Then as we grew in scope, other needs were found – leprosy, diabetes, birth defects, falling from trees when picking fruit, etc. Then we began to get a few notes listing “snakebite resulting in amputation” as the need for mobility. That puzzled me as I could not imagine snakebite as causing need to lose a leg.

Last week I received the fall issue of “The Ark,” the official magazine of Heifer, an NGO which works all over the world. Here is data from that issue;

*** 400,000 people suffer amputations, disfigurement, or permanent disability, annually, due to snakebites.

2012 Report from KODO in Malawi: “Mr. Jamison whose leg was amputated in 1949 after snake bite. He is now able to work at his shoe repairing shop.”

*** More people die from snakebites annually than from all these tropical diseases combined – Cholera, Dengue Fever, Chagas Disease, Leishmaniasis, Yellow Fever.
*** 5,000,000 persons are bitten each year, resulting in some 150,000 deaths.
*** Poor rural farmers and their families are most at risk. I remember when working with Habitat that the mothers were so glad to get out from under grass roofs, because snakes so often lived in them.
*** Some of the species most responsible for snakebite deaths include The Spitting Cobra (Africa); Russell’s Viper and the Speckled Cobra (India/Asia).
*** The largest deadly snake is the King Cobra, 14-18 feet long.
*** The most deadly is the Saw Scale Viper, 3 feet long.
*** Nigeria, where we have a lot of our Mobility Carts, has the highest concentration of deaths from snake bites – 14 per 100,000 people. Here in Columbia, MO, that would mean that 18 people a year would die from snakebites.

Mobility Worldwide is a fascinating study.
“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.” Corrie Ten Book
Mel West, Director Emeritus
DBA Mobility Worldwide MO – Columbia

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