SMHS Hospital struggles with 'irregular supply' of anti-rabies vaccines

SMHS Hospital struggles with 'irregular supply' of anti-rabies vaccines

3300 new dog bite cases reported in 6 months

The “erratic” supply of anti-rabies vaccines (ARV) to SMHS Hospital here has forced its authorities to approach directorate of health service Kashmir for help as dog bite cases reported there have grown to around 3300 in the past six months.

Hospital records show that 3295 new cases were reported at anti-rabies clinic of the hospital between April and September this year, with maximum number of cases received from Srinagar. As per data highest number of cases (602) was reported in July.

A GMC official said JK Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) entrusted with procurement of ARVs has not supplied vaccines to the hospital during the ongoing financial year.

“Since 2017 the entire budget of Rs 20 lakh for purchase of vaccines is being transferred to JKMSCL. In 2017, they (JKMSCL) supplied vaccines worth 12 lakh only while this year the hospital did not receive any supplies,” the official said.

He said the hospital (SMHS) had to take a loan of 2000 vials of ARV from directorate of health services to meet the requirement.

A source said in the past six months supplies of ARV exhausted many times, and the hospital, which runs the only anti-rabies clinic in Kashmir, had to resort to stop gap arrangements.

Head, department of community medicine at GMC, Dr S Saleem Khan said that annually around 7000 to 8000 dog bite cases are reported at the hospital.

Last year, out of 6802 cases from all parts of Kashmir, 4820 cases (70 percent) were from Srinagar only. In the past too, over 70 percent of dog bite cases treated at SMHS Hospital were those from Srinagar.

Dr Khan said 10,000 vials of anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) are required at hospital every year. Last year hospital had announced free immunoglobin injections (RIG) that are recommended for severe bite cases, but there are also “issues” with supply of this injection.

When asked about shortage of injections, Dr Khan said the medical college had recently floated tenders for procurement of vaccines, after getting a no-objection certificate from JKMSCL.

“However, there is a country-wide shortage in manufacturing of ARV,” he said adding that it was the cause of supplies’ shortage.