The govt hasn't been able to find a cheap alternative to a European vaccine that costs Rs70,000
The anti-rabies vaccine is finishing in Karachi and the government is at a loss about where to get more vaccines from. There have been no arrangements made at government hospitals to obtain the vaccine.
Rabies Free Karachi Programme Director Dr Naseem Salahuddin says the import of the vaccine from India has been stopped. It also used to be imported from China but that has also stopped.
The health department hasn’t taken any steps to remedy this situation. The Indus Hospital in Karachi only has one month’s worth of vaccines left. Over 100 dog bite cases are reported in the city every day.
The vaccine imported from India costs Rs1,000 whereas the one imported from Europe costs Rs70,000. At public hospitals, cases of dog bites are treated for free. Public hospitals use the Indian vaccine because it’s cheaper. Some private hospitals in the city use the expensive European vaccines.
India doesn’t want to export this vaccine to Pakistan anymore and the government hasn’t come up with an alternative.
Pakistan Medical Association member Dr Qaiser Sajjad says the time has come to start producing this vaccine in Pakistan. If the government can’t find a cheap alternative to the European vaccine, the number of deaths due to rabies will increase, he said.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said that they have informed the National Institute of Health about the shortage but it won’t be able to supply anti-rabies vaccines in the quantity required for Karachi.