Dearth of anti-Rabies vaccine
A prominently published new item in a Urdu daily states that anti-Rabies vaccine are out of stock in all categories of government hospitals. The vaccines are used in treatment of dog bites which were used to be available in pharmacies of different categories of hospitals at the causality department but even in Rural Health Centers and Basic Health Units and offices of District Health Officers. A proposal for the purchase of anti-Rabies vaccines from the international market has been sent to the cold storage due some legal obstacle and fear of NAB probe because this vaccine has not been registered by the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
The issue of non-availability of anti-Rabies vaccines raises a number of questions about the healthcare policy of the federal government. In the past these vaccines were being prepared by the National Health Laboratories at Islamabad. These laboratories also have the required know how that can be used in the preparation of other vaccines prevention of some other diseases. Why the infrastructure and expertise of scientists of National Health Laboratories is not utilised for manufacturing anti-Rabies vaccines? Is this important facility of preventive health cover is deliberately being rendered redundant now for the want of funds from the federal government? Why DRAP is not performing its role as part of the solution and prefer to serve as part of the problem? How long the federal and provincial governments will look up to assistance from the World Health Organisation for provision of vaccines and injections which are essential for preventive and curative healthcare. A few months ago when the endemic of Lashmania fever broke out in certain districts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa the patient excuse was given that the required medicines and injections cannot be purchased because these medicines have not been registered by DRAP. Now the same pretext is given for not purchasing the ant-Rabies vaccines come what may. Is it not playing with human life? The vaccines were out of stock for the last one and a half year but the federal government was not informed to accord approval for the registration of vaccines by DRAP and providing funds to National Health Laboratories for its preparation. Why the Chief Executive of the province is not formally taking up the issue of non-availability of vaccines with the Prime Minister who is very much conscious about the problems that impact human health? Is it a bureaucratic delaying tactics to bring misnomer for the ruling political party?