RABIES CRISIS: Not Enough Money; Not Enough Vaccine

DENPASAR                                                                                                                     
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.

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2 Responses to “RABIES CRISIS: Not Enough Money; Not Enough Vaccine”

  1. John Says:

    60 people are bitten by dogs each day. Rabies or not, this is insane. Maybe it is time for *some* people living in Bali to start taking responsibillity for their pets and not having them roaring the streets at free will. At least that would be a start. Wild dog populations is off course another issue and solving this should include an increase effort in sterilization and castration. If this is not done it’s just a matter of time before the only viable option is to kill any dog that is not confined. When this Rabies and dog bite problem gets a tiny bit more media attention in touristing countries travel bans and recomendations for not traveling to Bali is close by. As basically everyone living in Bali is dependent on tourism this will hit everyone hard.

    This problem is everyones problem. You got a dog running free on the streets? Stop it. Do you have a neighbour that let’s it’s dog running on the street as it wants? Tell them and enlighten them about the importance of keeping dogs confined.

    If there is no dogs, private or wild, running in the streets there is nothing that can bite you and in extension no Rabies from dog attacks in the street.

  2. Gloria Says:

    We have patients from our area in Buleleng who cannot get free vaccine at the hospitals…they are very poor and will have to pay the high cost of buying vaccine from Apotiks but who will help them…they have no money…does this mean they may die…they are nearly all children….what to do ?

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