Nisar Betani

In various areas of Dera Ismail Khan, one of the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government hospitals are facing a critical shortage of dog bite vaccines, leaving citizens with no choice but to purchase the vaccine at high market prices, currently at around Rs 1,000.

Recently, a teenager named Muhammad Aryan in DI Khan fell victim to a dog bite when he was attacked while crossing the street in Lakki Marwat. Aryan’s elder brother, Adeel Khan, swiftly rushed him to Bannu District Hospital, where he received the initial dog bite vaccine. However, upon returning to DI Khan, they faced a dilemma as the vaccine was not available on the scheduled day due to shortages in DI Khan’s District Health Office and other health centers.

Muhammad Asghar, Aryan’s father, expressed his concerns, stating that although the dog was a common street dog, he feared the possibility of it carrying a potentially dangerous virus in its saliva. He emphasized the importance of his child completing the entire course of vaccinations. He lamented the absence of dog bite vaccines in government hospitals throughout Dera Ismail Khan, posing a significant risk to all children in the city.

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When contacted, the District Health Officer acknowledged the vaccine shortage, revealing that they had placed orders for dog bite vaccines several months ago. While the DI Khan District Hospital had also made requests, the provincial authorities had not supplied the vaccines. Consequently, these crucial vaccines remain unavailable in numerous health centers, forcing citizens to purchase them from private markets during emergencies.

Adding to the concern, a responsible officer from the district hospital disclosed that dog bite vaccines were presently unavailable in any Basic Health Unit (BHU) or local health center, including DI Khan’s district hospital. This situation is deeply worrisome, as dog bite victims may not have the time to wait for treatment. Anyone, including pedestrians and children, could be bitten by a dog, but the absence of vaccines at the official level compounds the distressing situation.

Many visitors to DHQ Hospital noted that this shortage of vaccines had persisted for an extended period, becoming a distressing norm. People are occasionally forced to buy expensive private vaccines. It’s crucial to highlight that similar reports indicate a shortage of dog bite vaccines in Tank and Lakki Marwat hospitals. Therefore, the hospitals in DI Khan, Tank, and Lakki Marwat must prioritize the provision of these essential vaccines to ensure timely treatment for dog bite victims.

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