Poonch hospitals lack anti-rabies vaccine

The government hospitals across Poonch district are reeling under the absence of anti-rabies vaccine, with the chemist shops also suffering acute shortage.

The locals said, “Since over a month now, all the government hospitals are functioning sans anti-rabies vaccine. Besides, even the private shops are hit by the shortage now. This is a serious issue and needs immediate looking into.”

Pertinently, multiple cases of dog bite have come to the fore in the recent days from across the district, with over a dozen cases being reported from Mandi Tehsil on a single day itself.

Raising concern, the chemists said, “Earlier, we used to procure our supply from private medical stores in Jammu, but nowadays the anti-rabies vaccine is not even available there. The owners of the private stores claim that they are not receiving adequate supply from outside the state.”

“I tried to arrange some vaccines from Jammu, but returned empty handed. I even tried to contact stores outside the state, but they all say that they are suffering due to acute shortage,” Shakeel Ahmed, a chemist from Mandi, said.

A dog bite victim, Mushtaq Ahmed of Fatehpur, told Greater Kashmir, “I was bitten by a mad dog in my village a few days ago. The doctors asked me to get myself vaccinated, but even after strenuous efforts I failed to get the vaccine from government hospitals in Poonch. Besides, the private shops of Rajouri and Poonch also claimed to be running short. Later, as a last resort, I went to Jammu and bought some vaccines from a private store.”

The Medical Officer in government hospital Mandi, Dr Abdul Quyoom, said, “Rabies can be fatal and that is why administering the anti-rabies vaccine to dog bite victims is essential.”

Chief Medical Officer, Poonch, Dr Mumtaz Bhati, confirmed that the district is suffering due to the acute shortage of anti-rabies vaccine. “I have taken up the matter with the directorate of health services Jammu and we are hopeful that we will receive new supply soon,” he said.