KARACHI: Acute shortage of life-saving anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) has forced poor patients to buy it from open market, causing tremendous hardships to them.

Around 80 to 120 people, including women and children, bitten by dogs are brought to CHK each day for vaccination but ARV is not available in the hospital since last 10 days due to short supply of vaccine.

The CHK rabies centre is one of the largest centres of Sindh, where around 100 persons daily are given ARV shots as well as immunoglobulin to prevent them from contracting rabies.

Medical Superintendent, CHK, Dr Khadim Hussain Qureshi confirmed the shortage of anti-rabies vaccine due to non-supply of vaccine from the supplier. He claimed that the suppliers offered them the Chinese vaccine, but Sindh health secretary did not approve the idea.

He informed that the contractor had been directed to supply 1,000 anti-rabies vaccines on urgent basis to overcome their shortage. He said incidents of dog bite were common in Karachi and hospitals urgently needed vaccine to cater to victims.

On the other hand, limited stock of ARV is available at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Indus Hospital Karachi while the rest of the city’s hospitals are running without vaccine. The poor patients have been compelled to procure it from open market.

More than 18,000 dog bite cases were reported in the first seven months of 2019 from January to July in Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, JPMC, Indus Hospital and other medical facilities.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019