ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Health (NIH) Executive Director Brigadier Dr Aamer Ikram said that rabies is a preventable disease which is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of infected dogs, cats and wild animals.
He expressed these views while speaking to participants of a walk organised on World Rabies Day by the NIH with the theme ‘Zero Rabies by 2030’ here on Thursday. The aim of the event was to create awareness regarding human and animal rabies while stressing on ways for the prevention of the disease.
Dr Ikram said that around 99 per cent of rabies cases in Pakistan were caused by dog bites and most victims of the disease included children and rural communities. He participated in the walk along with students of College of Medical Laboratories Technology (CMLT), fellows of Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Programme (FELTP) and senior officers of the institute also participated in the event.
He also emphasised that precious human lives could be saved by raising public awareness against the disease. He said, “NIH is presently producing cell culture anti-rabies vaccine and anti-rabies serum, both of which are supplied on demand to all provinces, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the armed forces as well as private sector companies.”
Furthermore, Dr Ikram also said that NIH serum processing laboratory of biological production division was established with initial annual production capacity of 30,000 x 10mls vials, and 1000 x 10mls vials for anti-rabies serum. Keeping in view the increased demands, he said that NIH was in a process to enhance the production capacity for the above mentioned serum. NIH also provides diagnostic facility for patients after vaccination, he added.
On the occasion, the mobile unit of NIH was sent to distribute printed awareness material at different educational institutes and among the general public
He also praised the efforts made by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination and in particular Saira Afzal Tarar for strengthening the public health system, including prevention and control of infectious diseases.
The event is celebrated annually to raise awareness about rabies and to highlight progress made in defeating this horrifying disease.