Snakebite envenomation is a serious public health concern in rural areas of Uganda. Snakebites are poorly documented in Uganda because most occur in rural settings where traditional therapists end up being the first-line defense for treatment. Ethnobotanical surveys in Uganda have reported that some plants are used to antagonize the activity of various snake venoms. This review was sought to identify antivenin plants in Uganda and some pharmacological evidence supporting their use. A literature survey done in multidisciplinary databases revealed that 77 plant species belonging to 65 genera and 42 families are used for the treatment of snakebites in Uganda. The majority of these species belong to family Fabaceae (31%), Euphorbiaceae (14%), Asteraceae (12%), Amaryllidaceae (10%) and Solanaceae (10%). The main growth habit of the species is shrubs (41%), trees (33%) and herbs (18%). Antivenin extracts are usually prepared from roots (54%) and leaves (23%) through decoctions, infusions, powders, and juices, and are administered orally (67%) or applied topically (17%). The most frequently encountered species were Allium cepa, Carica papaya, Securidaca longipedunculata, Harrisonia abyssinica, and Nicotiana tabacum. Species with global reports of tested antivenom activity included Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Basella alba, Capparis tomentosa, Carica papaya, Cassia occidentalis, Jatropa carcus, Vernonia cinereal, Bidens pilosa, Hoslundia opposita, Maytensus senegalensis, Securinega virosa, and Solanum incanum. There is need to identify and evaluate the antivenom compounds in the claimed plants.
Snakebite envenomation, cognized as a neglected tropical disease, is a dread public health concern with the most susceptible groups being herdsmen, the elderly, active farmers, hunters, fishers, firewood collectors, 10 to 14-year old working children and individuals with limited access to education and health care. Snakebites are fragmentarily documented in Uganda primarily because most occur in rural settings where traditional therapists end up being the first line defence for treatment. Ethnobotanical surveys in Uganda have unveiled that some plants are used to antagonize the activity of various snake venoms. This review was sought to compile the sporadic information on the vegetal species reported as antivenins in Uganda. Electronic data indicate that no study entirely reported on antivenin plants in Uganda. A total of 77 plant species belonging to 65 genera, distributed among 42 botanical families claimed as antiophidic in Uganda are used for treatment of snakebites. Majority of these species belong to family Fabaceae (30.9%), Euphorbiaceae (14.3%), Asteraceae (11.9%), Amaryllidaceae (9.5%) and Solanaceae (9.5%). The antiophidic species listed are shrubs (40.5%), trees (32.9%) and herbs (17.7%), usually found in the wild and uncultivated. Antivenin extracts are primarily prepared from roots and leaves, through decoctions, infusions, powders and juices and administered orally or topically. The most frequently encountered therapeutically important species are Allium cepa L., Carica papaya L., Securidaca longipedunculata Fres., Harrisonia abyssinica Oliv. and Nicotiana tabacum L. Baseline epidemiological data on snake envenomation and antivenin plants in Uganda remain incomplete due to inadequate research and diverse ethnic groups in the country. There is a dire need to isolate and characterize the bioactive compounds in the claimed plants to enable their adroit utilization in handling the plague of snake envenomation. More baseline data should be collected on snake ecology and human behaviour as well as antivenin plants in Uganda. Indigenous knowledge on the use of plant preparations in traditional medicine in Uganda is humongous, but if this is not quickly researched and appropriately documented, indications as to the usefulness of this vegetal treasure house will be lost in the not so distant future.
Background: Diabetes mellitus is on the rise in low-income countries, including Uganda, owing to the 'westernization' of individual lifestyles. It remains unanswered whether the majority of university students who are rapidly embracing 'western' lifestyles have any knowledge of diabetes or perceive themselves to be at risk of acquiring the disease. The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and perceived risks related to diabetes mellitus among university students in Uganda.Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 4 universities in Uganda from August to November 2013. The data collection tool included questions on risk factors, symptoms, personal risks, and practices to prevent diabetes mellitus. We interviewed 378 university students using pretested self-administered semi-structured questionnaires. Only students who consented to participate in the study were included. Data were entered into EpiData version 3.1 and analysed using SPSS version 18.Results: Almost all (99%) of the students had knowledge about diabetes mellitus. The majority (83.1%) reported that diabetes mellitus is not completely a genetic/hereditary disease. Only a minority of respondents reported that they should worry about diabetes before 45 years of age. Common symptoms of diabetes reported by the respondents included constant hunger, blurred vision, fatigue, and frequent urination. Conclusions:Our study revealed that the majority of university students in Uganda had good knowledge about the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes mellitus. The majority also perceived themselves to be at risk of diabetes.
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