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November 9, 2019

‘NIH producing anti-rabies vaccines, but not enough’


November 9, 2019

Sindh Health and Population Welfare Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said on Friday that the delay in the treatment of dog-bite patients resulted in deaths. For the treatment of the rabies, the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, prepared anti-rabies vaccines (ARV) but the amount of production was not sufficient.

Patients with rabies encephalitis, a dog-borne viral illness, wasted time at their home doing home remedies. Every citizen and the relevant departments should make collective efforts for a rabies-free Sindh, adding widespread of tropical disease Leishmaniasis was endemic to Pakistan.

She said this while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of an international workshop on ‘New Anti-leishmanial Lead from Natural Sources: Concept and Approaches’ held at the Prof Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium. Scholars from 20 countries were participating in the international workshop jointly organised by Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University (KU), and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).

Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of the prime minister’s National Task Force on Science and Technology, Chairperson Dr Panjwani Memorial Trust Nadira Panjwani, Chairman Husein Ebrahim Jamal Foundation Aziz Latif Jamal, Director International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), KU, Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Prof Dr Paul W Denny of the NTD, WHO representative Dr Sara Salam also spoke.

Dr Pechuho said dog-bite cases had become a public health problem worldwide. The cases were mishandled by the victim and their families, and they delay seeing a doctor. She added that the delay was the cause of rabies death in people.

In reply to a query, she said that anti-rabies vaccines were available at public hospitals but not in sufficient amount. She said that Pakistan was a dengue-endemic country, but as compared to other cities, the spread of dengue was under control in Karachi.

It was quite heartening to know that the workshop had brought together scientists and young researchers from four continents, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America, to Pakistan to discuss strategies to control and treat leishmaniasis, the minister said. Prof Rahman said the NTD was a diverse group of communicable diseases prevailing in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affected more than one billion people.

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