J&K hospitals out of anti-rabies vaccines

JAMMU/KATHUA:Government hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir have completely run out of anti-rabies vaccines, forcing patients to buy the same from outside at inflated rates.

ROBINSINGH@TRIBUNE.COM

Tribune reporters 

Jammu/Kathua, June 6

Government hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir have completely run out of anti-rabies vaccines, forcing patients to buy the same from outside at inflated rates. 

Private hospitals and chemists are also facing the shortage due to ‘low supply’ by pharmaceutical companies. Patients are now being forced to visit Punjab, Delhi and HP to get the treatment. 

The state has 3,300 government health institutions in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, which are facing the shortage of vaccines. In some district hospitals, there has been no supply for the last six months.

“Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, has completely run out of anti-rabies injections. Patients are asked to purchase the vaccines from medical stores, which too have limited stock. These stores are selling these shots at inflated price,” said a health official. 

He said the supply of vaccines had also been hit at all district hospitals in the state. 

“My son was bitten by a stray dog and we rushed to GMCH, Jammu, but there was no injection available. Doctors asked us to purchase it from the market, where it is being sold at inflated rates,” said Sahil Kumar. 

Dr Javaid Ahmad Rather, municipal veterinary officer, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, said 4,400 dog bites cases were reported during 2018-19. As per a survey conducted by an NGO, there were 49,000 stray dogs within the Srinagar municipal limits, he said.  Similarly, 44,000 stray dogs are there in the Jammu municipal limits, while GMCH, Jammu, received 15 to 20 patients on a daily basis. 

Shiv Kumar Gupta, MD, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited, said, “We had floated tenders for the procurement of anti-rabies vaccine, but no company came forward to participate in the bidding process. We have taken up the matter with the Union Health Ministry and are hopeful of an early solution to the problem.” 

10,000 dog bite cases

On an average 10,000 dog bites cases are reported within the municipal limits of two capital cities—Jammu and Srinagar — in a year where the number of stray dogs is around 1 lakh.  

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