Following the shortfall of anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) at public hospitals across Sindh, Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar-led administration in Punjab has reportedly started running out of the same.
According to a private media outlet, a minor girl in Sialkot was bitten by a dog earlier this week. Hadiya later passed away because there was no vaccine available at the Civil Hospital she was rushed to in the Kotli Loharan town of the district.
Last month, a ten-year-old, who was bitten by a stray dog, died of rabies in Larkana.
According to details, the minor, who was identified as Mir Hasan was first taken to a hospital in Shikarpur, however, he was not given the treatment because there was no vaccine available at the hospital.
Hasan’s parents later rushed him to Larkana’s Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Hospital, but it had also run out of the required vaccine, resulting in the boy succumbing to the disease.
The tragic development in Punjab comes amid the government’s inaction despite a rise in the number of dog-bite in Sialkot. Earlier this year, over 200 people were attacked by stray dogs in the district within a short span of two months.
RABIES & VACCINE SHORTAGE:
Rabies encephalitis is a dog-borne viral illness caused mostly by the biting of stray dogs, and if ARV is not administered to the affected person along with immunoglobulin, the patient suffers a miserable death due to hydrophobia and other complications of the disease.
According to SAMAA, most anti-rabies vaccinations in Pakistan were imported from India, but they don’t want to export the vaccine to Pakistan anymore.
The vaccine imported from India cost Rs1,000 whereas the one imported from Europe costs Rs70,000. At public hospitals, cases of dog bites are treated for free. Public hospitals use the Indian vaccine because it’s cheaper. Some private hospitals in the city use the expensive European vaccines.
“The time has come to start producing this vaccine in Pakistan. If the government can’t find a cheap alternative to the European vaccine, the number of deaths due to rabies will increase,” SAMAA quoted Pakistan Medical Association member Dr Qaiser Sajjad as saying.