Insufficient anti-rabies vaccines at government hospitals put living in danger

KARACHI: 10 days back, a seven-year-old from Shikarpur ended up at the Indus Hospital in a place of gasping. He was quickly placed on a ventilator. The cause, his father learned, was a dog bite on the child’s arm. The dad said to a doctor at the hospital that final month his son had been bitten by a rabid dog. “He was playing outside with other infants … teasing the neighbor’s dog when the animal immediately attacked my boy,” he declared.

“We took him to large hospitals in Shikarpur, Larkana, and Hyderabad for the anti-rabies vaccine but people there kept informing me that it was unavailable. They kept promising me that they would try to select it but never did. Finally, I had no other option but to bring my kid to Karachi,” he declared. Mohammad Aftab Gohar, the manager of the rabies program at the Indus Hospital, discussed that unluckily many public industry hospitals in the nation were facing a chronic shortage of rabies vaccine. In the last ten years, he declared, Karachi has had a lot more than 27, 000 animal bite victims .“We don’t have a national level stock.

Many hospitals purchase vaccines on their own from area vendors and they don’t have any vaccine these days,” he said to Dawn. Sources say that the nation is short by 800, 000 doses. “For the previous several months an extreme shortage of the rabies vaccine has been observed across the country, including Sindh, and as consequence patients have to travel long distances to get to hospitals such as the Indus Hospital and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for vaccinations,” added Mr Gohar.

The vaccine, he described, can be imported from Europe but it is more expensive there and the supply has progressively decreased. “India generates a high-quality vaccine which is economical for us but due to a very limited provide from there we are dealing with an extreme shortage,” he added. In the past 2 years, incidents of dog bites have in India. Based on a report by the Global Alliance on Rabies Control, India accounts for about thirty-five percent of the human rabies deaths, a lot more than some other nation.

The vaccine is also created in Thailand but the total doses produced is enough only to meet the country’s needs. “The vaccine is unavailable in the nation. It is tapering off. At Indus ( Hospital )we do have a supply but a few days it will run out as our numbers have gone up,” claimed Dr. Nasreen Salauddin, the head of infectious diseases at the Indus Hospital. “At Jinnah hospital, they have their own supply as Seemi Jamali is as tough about this as I am. Whoever has it utilizes it but there are days we get phone calls from Balochistan for the vaccine and many times people just show up at the clinic . . . but it will dry out,” she declared, attaching that the final time they procured the vaccine was 3 to 6 months back. If this isn’t sorted out quickly lots more people will die. “You can still survive if you’re getting an outdated vaccine for measles, mumps or rubella but if you fail with the rabies vaccines — you’re killing the sufferer,” she declared, adding that it was important to remember that many dogs are not rabid.

Rabies, Mr. Gohar explained, is a virus which is transmitted to humans through a bite or scratch of an infected animal and invariably becomes fatal once symptoms are created. However, the death can be prevented if for example a dog-bite victim is provided with post-exposure prophylaxis ( PEP ) timely and efficiently, as recommended by the World Health Organisation ( WHO). “Once rabies develops in the sufferer, they will die in 5 to 7 days,” he declared, adding that once symptoms such as fever, hydrophobia or aerophobia begin to show there is no going back. All you can do is to make the sufferer comfortable.

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