Kashmir Hospitals Face Anti Rabies Vaccine Shortage

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SRINAGAR — The government hospitals in the districts and villages and towns across Kashmir are facing shortage of anti rabies vaccines forcing people to buy the vaccines from open market.

Even as there is an increase in dog bite cases, the lack of vaccines in peripheral hospitals has put the patients through an ordeal.

Sources in Health Department said that the hospitals including district hospital Kupwara, sub district hospital Handwara and many sub-centers are without vaccines. “These vaccines are not even easily available in the market. This is alarming situation which the officials seem least bothered about,” said an official.

Sources said that the “quantity of vaccines available are only for those patients who suffer severe dog-bites in the head.” “It can’t be given to those with other minor injuries,” he said.

Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Kunzes Dolma  said that she has raised the issue with higher authorities in the Secretariat.

A doctor at “one of the anti-rabies clinics” said that “they lack the immunoglobulin injections which pushes us to ask patients to buy them from private dealers at high price.”

According to doctors, rabies immunoglobulin is a prime medicine for patients with “single or multiple bites or scratches, licks on broken skin and contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks.” However, they said some other patients, with lower exposure, also need the injection.

Officials said that the shortage of vaccines was even as the matter was raised many a time by them with the higher authorities.

The Anti Rabies Clinic (ARC) at SMHS Hospital has faced the shortage of vaccines as the Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) stopped the supply of the drugs to the hospital despite receiving repeated notices from the administration of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.

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