Acute shortage of anti-rabies vaccine in Bharatpur Hospital leaves patients in trouble

Published On: April 22, 2024 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

NARAYANGADH (CHITWAN), April 22: As many as 200 patients visit Bharatpur Hospital on a daily basis for anti-rabies vaccine. However, due to acute shortage of the vaccine, they return home disappointed bearing the risk of viral disease transmitted through bites of rabid animals.

Binod Lama of Bharatpur Metropolitan City (BMC)-12, rushed his 11-year-old daughter, who was bitten by a rabid dog, to the Hospital for vaccination. Much to his dismay, the staffers at the Hospital mentioned the shortage of vaccines in the Hospital and he was left with no choice but to go out of the hospital to get the vaccine.

"Isn't it strange that the Hospital is running short of vaccines! Where do we avail the vaccine then? “fumed Gurung, adding, "They suggested we procure it from outside which is so expensive and we are not aware where we get it in the first place."

Sanjay Gurung of Bharatpur was bitten by a rabid dog while going to his relative's house in Dhading. He immediately got the first dose of the vaccine administered there. When he reached the Bharatpur Hospital to get the second dose, he could not get one. 

Gurung shared that at first he did not believe that there was a shortage of the vaccine in the Hospital. He was only convinced about it when other patients visiting the Hospital along with him reaffirmed it. "What kind of vaccine is this that is not available in the public healthcare facility? Where shall we get the vaccine now?", he ranted.

Similarly, Bharat Gurung of Bharatpur-6 had to purchase the vaccine from elsewhere when it was not available in the Hospital. It cost him Rs 625 for a vial which has two doses of vaccine while for the three doses of anti-rabies vaccine, the Hospital would charge them only Rs 300, according to him. 

He shared that two patients buy a single vial on a cost-sharing basis and get it inoculated. 

Dr Ram Prasad Sapkota, Spokesperson of the Hospital, admitted that the Hospital has been reeling under acute shortage of anti-rabies vaccine. "The shortage began on April 2. We have no stock of the vaccine at present," he confessed.

Sapkota informed that they had been repeatedly notifying the concerned authorities in the provincial and federal ministries about the shortage but to no avail. 

Earlier, the Hospital used to receive 60 to 70 vials of vaccines daily which sufficed to inoculate the patients. With the surge in the number of patients with dog bites started and with no stock of vaccine in the Hospital, the shortage grew more severe. 

Apart from Chitwan, patients outside of Chitwan district such as Nawalpur, Dhading, Gorkha among others also visit the Hospital for vaccines and return empty-handed. 

According to Spokesperson Sapkota, they have been told that it would take two weeks for them to get the vaccine restocked. "We have no convincing answer for the patients," he said. 

Pradeep Adhikari, Chief of Store Department in the Hospital, added they procured less than the quantity of the vaccines they had requested. As the demand for the vaccine went up with the surge in the number of patients, the store ran short of it and now they had to suggest the patients to get the vaccine from elsewhere.

He explained, "When we demanded 1000 vials of vaccines with the provincial authority, we only got 80 vials. We only received 250 vials from the federal authority which was not sufficient to go by for more than two days."

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