RABIES CRISIS: Not Enough Money; Not Enough Vaccine
The Bali Times
SEVEN of Bali’s nine districts were short of vital anti-rabies (VAR) vaccine or out of stock altogether this week, according to a provincial government statement issued on Tuesday.
Only Buleleng and Karangasem had reserve stocks of VAR this week, said government spokesman Ketut Teneng.
“We will continue to lack VAR, whatever is provided, because the bite cases continue to grow,” said Teneng, adding that up to 60 people were being bitten by dogs every day.
Regency governments and residents around the island are beginning to question and criticise the slow procurement process for the vaccine, which is critical to protecting dog-bite victims from contracting the painful and fatal disease.
Teneng said the Bali administration had allocated Rp2.5 billion (US$274,000) for supplies of VAR in 2010. Each dog-bite victim requires four injections, which cost around $13.60 each or $54.40 a person.
This means the annual provincial budget can provide only 5,036 dog-bite victims with the four-shot course of injections.
Teneng’s figure of 60 new bite victims a day totals 21,096 over a full year, meaning the provincial budget barely covers 25 percent of the expected req-uirement.
Australia and aid agencies such as the World Health Organisation have pledged to provide VAR for Bali and the island’s nine districts have varying budgets for rabies treatment and control.
Bali’s Health Department this week confirmed an official rabies toll of 42 since November 2008, when the authorities identified rabies as present following unexplained earlier deaths in the Ungasan area on the Bukit, where the disease was first identified.
But Sanglah Hospital’s rabies treatment centre this week estimated more than 60 people had died.Filed under: Headlines