Dr Naseem Salahuddin says the vaccine isn't expensive either
Infectious diseases expert Dr Naseem Salahuddin stressed on Sunday the need of proper training for anti-rabies vaccination in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh. Dr Salahuddin was speaking on SAMAA TV's show Sawal Sunday. She said dog bite cases are a major issue in Sindh. "Stray dogs roam the streets everywhere in Sindh," the expert said. "People are worried that when these dogs bite their loved ones then neither they have the vaccines available nor the means to get these dogs away." In case of a dog bite, the anti-rabies vaccine and the immune globulin injection need to be administered in a certain way, according to her. No healthcare provider in Sindh understands when, how and why the vaccine is to be administered. Dr Salahuddin said the immune globulin injection would be given if the wound was deep. She denied that the injection was not affordable. In 2017, the vaccine course and the immune globulin injection cost around Rs1,200, according to the expert. It would cost Rs1,500 at present. Dr Salahuddin established the Rabies Prevention Centre at the Indus Hospital in Karachi. Around 30 to 50 people with dog bites visit the centre daily and they are treated free of cost. The anchorperson noted that in 2020, 122,566 people were bitten by dogs in Sindh and the vaccine isn't widely available in the province. "The vaccine is available if they know how to administer this injection," the expert insisted. She said that Sindh healthcare workers don't know the way it is administered. Dr Salahuddin said she had visited various places to train healthcare staffers and invited people to get trained at the Indus Hospital as well. Recently they received a letter from the Balochistan health department requesting them to train their staffers, she said. "I will invite and train four to five individuals next week," the expert added. Dr Salahuddin said they had offered the Sindh health minister to train healthcare workers in the province too. "We didn't get any reply...it's been one to one-and-a-half year and we are still waiting," she said. At this, the anchorperson urged PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to ask the Sindh health department to respond to the request and act upon it if the proposal was good.