Patiala, August 16
Amid the reports of 50 cases of animal bites every day, many health centres in the district are running short of the anti-rabies vaccine. The vaccine, which is free at government facilities, costs around Rs 350 and patients are forced to purchase the vials from the market.
Higher-ups already informed: Official
We have the vaccine at only one or two health centres out of the total 13 sites in the district. We have already informed higher-ups about the shortage. Sumeet Singh, District Epidemiologist
Health officials said the district reported 50 cases of animal bites every day. Each such patient has to receive four shots. With the shortage of anti-rabies vaccine, patients face the double whammy as the government hospitals were already running short of the life-saving anti-rabies serum (ARS). ARS is a costly medicine given in grade-3 bite cases.
Health experts said poor patients had to skip the vaccine as they find it difficult to afford the cost. Consequently, they were at a high risk of getting rabies, added the experts.
According to the World Health Organization, 18,000- 20,000 people die due to rabies every year. About 30-60 per cent of reported rabies cases and deaths in India occur among children under the age of 15.
Despite repeated attempts, Civil Surgeon Raju Dhir could not be contacted for his comments.
When asked about the shortage, Sumeet Singh, district epidemiologist, said they had already informed the higher-ups multiple times. “We have the vaccine at only one or two health centres out of the total 13 sites in the district. We are running short of the vaccine. We have already informed higher-ups about the shortage.”
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