Building an explanatory model for snakebite envenoming care in the Brazilian Amazon from the indigenous caregivers perspective

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Background In the Brazilian Amazon, snakebite envenomings (SBE) disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. Communication between indigenous and biomedical health sectors in regards to SBEs has never been explored in this region. This study aims to build an explanatory model (EM) of the indigenous healthcare domain for SBE patients from the perspective of the indigenous caregivers. Methodology/Principal findings This is a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews of eight indigenous caregivers who are representatives of the Tikuna, Kokama and Kambeba ethnic groups, in the Alto Solimões River, western Brazilian Amazon. Data analysis was carried out via deductive thematic analysis. A framework was built containing the explanations based on three explanatory model (EM) components: etiology, course of sickness, and treatment. To indigenous caregivers, snakes are enemies and present conscience and intention. Snakebites have a natural or a supernatural cause, the last being more difficult to prevent and treat. Use of ayahuasca tea is a strategy used by some caregivers to identify the underlying cause of the SBE. Severe or lethal SBEs are understood as having been triggered by sorcery. Treatment is characterized by four components: i) immediate self-care; ii) first care in the village, mostly including tobacco smoking, chants and prayers, combined with the intake of animal bile and emetic plants; iii) a stay in a hospital, to receive antivenom and other treatments; iv) care in the village after hospital discharge, which is a phase of re-establishment of well-being and reintroduction into social life, using tobacco smoking, massages and compresses to the affected limb, and teas of bitter plants. Dietary taboos and behavioral interdictions (avoiding contact with menstruating and pregnant women) prevent complications, relapses, and death, and must be performed up to three months after the snakebite. Caregivers are in favor of antivenom treatment in indigenous areas. Conclusions/Significance There is a potential for articulation between different healthcare sectors to improve the management of SBEs in the Amazon region, and the aim is to decentralize antivenom treatment so that it occurs in indigenous health centers with the active participation of the indigenous caregivers.
Farias AS, Nascimento EF, Filho MRG, Fan HW. Building an explanatory model for snakebite envenoming care in the Brazilian Amazon from the indigenous caregivers perspective. Plos Neglect Trop Dis. 2023 Mar; 17(3):e0011172. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0011172.
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