With 700 dog bite cases reported last year, the Ludhiana civil hospital is proving inadequate to deal with the situation. Time and again, shortage of anti- rabies vaccine at the hospital has forced the patients to go to private hospitals where they have to shell out exorbitant amounts.
The situation at the civil hospital where vaccines could be procured for free by poor patients went for a toss when anti-rabies medicines were reported to be out of stock due to which patients suffered.
Some patients who could not pay amount up to Rs 1500 for injections and other medicines had to wait for many days before medicines could again be back in the stock.
Mukhtiyar Singh who works in a factory at Gill road was one of the victims who was bitten by stray dogs near his home at Kalsi Gali on Gill road on February 16. He went to the civil hospital for treatment but was told to come back on February 19.
Even on February 19, he was told that the medicines were still unavailable and was asked to visit again on February 22, the day when he was administered the first injection out of the total five.
Thousands of strays on streets
In the wake of at least 25,000 stray dogs on the loose on city streets, there is an influx of patients even with the private doctors these days. Municipal corporation has been making plans for the sterilisation of these stray dogs, but due to the pressure from animal rights non-governmental organisations, cases of mauling of children by these dogs are common.
Dr Mohinder Singh who has a private clinic at BRS Nagar says that he receives at least 2-3 patients per day on an average. “The number of dog bite cases coming to me has not decreased. It is a constant for the past three to four years,”he said.
Five injections for rabies and one of tetanus are administered to a dog bite patient. Most of the times the civil hospital has scarcity of these medicines that include ‘rabipur’ injections. Although dispensary at the civil hospital faces medicine crunch most of the time, but in case of a dog bite, absence of medicine could be disastrous, especially for a poor patient.
NGOs also come to the rescue sometimes in getting medicines for the poor patient. Samaj sewa society is one such NGO that got medicine for the dog bite patient during recent crisis at the civil hospital. “We try to put pressure on the authorities to get medicines as early as possible and also buy them on our own for patients,”said Ramesh Srivastava, chief of the NGO.
Dr Gurmeet Singh of medicine department at civil hospital said that as the medicine for dog bite are very costly these are present in lesser quantity at the hospital as a result they go out of stock every now and then. “There are some cases in which Rabipur vaccine is required, but in most cases dog bite victims panic and demand vaccine even where it is not required,”he said.
In case of a dog bite
Five injections of Rabipur on 0, 3,7,14 and 28th day are administered costing nearly `300 per shot at a private clinic while these are free at a civil hospital.