Several areas of north Kashmir's district Baramulla are afflicted by increasing stray dog menace with 68 cases of dog bites recorded at different hospitals in the district in last 5 months.
Locals said that the situation has “aggravated” by the absence of anti-rabies vaccines in the hospitals of the district.
According to sources in health department, primary health centres, sub-district hospitals and even district hospital Baramulla were facing shortage of anti-rabies vaccines. They said that people are forced to buy the vaccines from open market.
Few days back, a patient namely Abdul Razzaq Sumji of Achabal area of Sopore visited both District Hospital Baramulla and Sub District Hospital Sopore with a dog bite but anti rabies injections were not available forcing him to travel 60 kilometres to Srinagar from Sopore for the treatment.
"There were no anti rabies injections available at any hospital. Even not at district hospital Baramulla. From DH Baramulla, i was referred to Barzulla Srinagar for an anti rabies injection. And i am still told to visit Srinagar hospital for the treatment, "said Abdul Razzaq, a labourer by profession. Medicos said that even as there is an increase in dog bite cases, the lack of vaccines in health centers has put the patients through an ordeal.
“The vaccines are not even easily available in the market. This is alarming situation which the officials seem least bothered about. We are without anti rabies vaccines from last many months at District hospital Baramulla ,”a doctor who works at DH Baramulla said on the basis of anonymity. He said that in peripheries also, anti-rabies vaccines aren't available thereby creating problems for the patients.
In November 2018, a pack of stray dogs attacked and injured as many as 51 persons in Kanthbag area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla town including several women.
In another such incident, eight people were wounded when stray dogs attacked a group of people in Trinkanjan area of Uri.
On January, 10, 2019 four person including a minor and a woman was injured in a canine attack in Boniyar area of Baramulla. Medicos said that the vaccine is expensive in the open market whereas they are provided free of cost at health centers and government hospitals. It is mandatory to be given anti-rabies shots within 24 hours of being bitten by stray dogs dogs. They claim that it is fatal if a human who contracts rabies is not treated immediately.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Chief Medical Officer Baramulla, Dr. Bashir Ahmad Chalkoo said that there is shortage of supplies past several months and the issue has been taken up with the higher authorities.
"Past few weeks, we saw an increase in canine attacks in Baramulla outskirts. I have asked Medical Officers to purchase the vaccines from the market but there is a shortage in market also. We have taken the issue with higher authorities and the problem will be sorted out very soon," CMO Baramulla said.
Director Health Services Kashmir Dr. Kunzes Dolma, told Rising Kashmir that there is shortage of vaccines throughout the state. "There is shortage of anti-rabies vaccine throughout the state. But the problem is at the manufacturing level only. We are working on it," she said.