Patients outside the anti-rabies centre at Ranchi Sadar Hospital on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The long queue outside the anti-rabies vaccine centre at Ranchi Sadar Hospital on Monday morning said it all.
The state-run heal hub has been facing a severe crisis of the crucial injection administered to dog bite victims since last week with several poor patients being turned away. One vial of the ant-rabies vaccine costs between Rs 300 and Rs 600 in the market while it is administered for free at the sadar hospital.
But the hospital, which gets 100-200 dog bite cases from areas like Doranda, Bariatu, Hindpiri, Booty More, Harmu, Namkum, Nagra Toli, Booty More, Ratu Road, Pandra and Chutia on any given day, has run out of stock.
“Khatam ho gaya hain, bahar ke medical store se kharidiye. (The vaccine is exhausted. Buy it from medical stores outside),” Preeti Kumari Sinha, a woman manning the anti-rabies vaccine centre, told a patient’s relative on Monday as scores of others waited.
The stocks ran out on April 15. “We gave away 81 vials after which we received no fresh stock,” she said.
A few patients waiting in queue, including children like Nukul Kumar (10), were helpless.
“I was bitten by a dog on April 7. I visited the hospital and was suggested four doses of the anti-rabies vaccine. But I could get only two injections after which the stock got over. My father cannot buy the injection from medical stores or take me to private hospitals as we don’t have money,” said the boy, who stays in Dhurwa.
Another patient, Ganga Bhia (62), who had come from Pahartoli in Hehal, waved her prescription, requesting the medical staff to arrange the vaccine for her.
“Kya kare? Paisa nahi hain ilaj karane ke liye. Do injection aur chahiye (What will I do now? Don’t have money for treatment. I need two more injections),” she pleaded.
But there was little the hospital authorities could do apart from asking them to visit private hospitals or nursing homes.
“How can the hospital ask poor people like us to go to private hospitals where the injection will be costlier. If the health department is seeing that there is a spurt in dog bite cases in the city and its surrounding areas, it should have arranged fresh stocks,” fumed Rajesh Kumar, who had accompanied her mother, to the hospital.
Ranchi civil surgeon Gopal Prasad Srivastawa admitted to the shortage of anti-rabies vaccines. “We have informed the health department. It has floated a tender. A fresh stock of anti-rabies vaccine is expected by next week.”
He said January was the last time they received stock. “We got 3,000 vials that finished last week. The sadar hospital witnessed a huge surge in dog bite cases in the past few months,” he admitted.
Usually, doctors recommend four to five doses of the anti-rabies vaccine depending on the nature of the injury. The injection has to be administered on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 14th and 28th days after a dog bite.
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