The non-availability of anti rabies vaccine, which is necessary dog bite treatments, in public sector hospitals of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an additional problem of poor patients as they are now forced to purchase it from open market at exorbitant prices.
In spite of significant increase in dog bite cases in KP, the anti rabies vaccines is out of stock in most of the public sector hospitals in KP, totally negating PTI claims of providing inexpensive healthcare to poor segment of the society.
District Health Information System (DHIS) 2015 report revealed that the cases of dog bites have increased to 11,091 in the second quarter (April-June) against 8,374 cases reported in first quarter (January to March) this year.
“The Anti-Rabies vaccine is either limited or not available at any government health facility and most patients have to purchase the same from open market, “the report revealed. In the first quarter, the dog bite cases increased from 7,628 to 8,374 while 42.622 cases were reported in 2014.
The upward trend is evident from this report yet most of the government health facilities, teaching hospitals and district headquarters hospital (DHQs) in KP have run out of stock, whereas the PTI Government has turned a deaf ear to the problem involving thousands of lives.
Dr Akhir Jan, in charge Anti Rabbis Program in Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar told APP that 19,911 patients of dog bites including 5,567 mad dogs were registered last year and four patients lost their lives due to rabies.
In September last, 1,850 dogs bite patients including 53 rabid reported against 2,380 patients including 69 rabid in August 2015, he informed.
“Rabies is a killer disease and once its virus attack a person he should reach hospitals within 48 hours for vaccination to save his life,” Dr Jan said.
“The infected and untreated patient may die within 10 days,” he said, adding high fever, abnormal behaviour and aggressive mode are the major symptoms of rabies. “The anti rabies vaccines is very expensive and vaccination is the last resort to combat this killer virus.”
In a market survey it is found that two types of anti rabies vaccines are being sold from about Rs 1,100 and Rs 6,500 and poor patients have to arrange money from their limited resources to buy it from open market. Most hospitals in KP have no specific wards for the treatment of rabies patients and the victims are treated through ad hoc arrangements in the health facilities across the province.
The PTI manifesto laid great stress on improvement of social sector including health and education being on top of their priority list whereas the situation on ground was other way around. In spite of launching various health related programs by PTI since coming into power, the patients continued suffering to get quality and inexpensive treatment in public sector health institutions as the grim situation regarding non- availability of anti rabies vaccine is a clear example to the fact.
A medical expert when contacted said the decision makers should arrange and maintain proper vaccine stock for rabies at all the health facilities across the province keeping in view the ever increasing number of stray dogs.
There is also acute shortage of medical experts to deal with such patients in the hospitals therefore, the health experts must concentrate on resolving these human issues which involves precious lives.
This vaccine and anti-venom serum has long disappeared from the Sind Hospitals particularly Interior of Sind where everyday victims of dog-bite and snake bite die.
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