LAHORE: The director general health services Punjab claims that the Special Branch report on anti-rabies vaccine is partly correct and informed the chief minister secretariat that more than 60,000 vials of the vaccine are available in the stock.

In a letter, the DG health services informed the CM that the data received from all districts regarding available stock position of ARV as on Nov 15 indicated that there were 22,579 vials in the stock.
“Specially to mention are districts Multan with 987, Gujranwala 463, Sahiwal 248 and Bahawalpur 469,” reads the letter of the DG health office.

Meanwhile, the Primary and Secondary Health Department called a meeting to review the issue of shortage of ARV in most state-run health facilities on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the department said the meeting chaired by health secretary Muhammad Usman reviewed the vaccine vials stock position in Punjab’s DHQ and THQ hospitals and rural health centres.
He said the meeting was informed that according to the SOPs, the drug is not provided to the basic health units (BHUs) and dispensaries but it’s available at the DHQ and THQ hospitals and RHCs.

The spokesperson said the public health sector keeps capacity to deal with more than 98pc of the cases of such incidents by keeping in view the last 10-month statistics of dog-bite cases (3,035) in Punjab.

Contrary to the Special Branch report, he said, vaccine stock of ARV had never been short in those areas where dog-bite cases were reported. He said the death of patients usually occurred due to delay in medical treatment.

He said the health department had appealed to the citizens to immediately visit the health facilities in case of dog-bite cases. People should contact helpline 080099000 in case of any complaint, he added.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019