Criminal negligence

Special Branch report exposes scale of negligence on the part of both health authorities and district govt

Editorial April 01, 2019

All those having had the opportunity to govern this country seem to have one thing in common — the apathy and callousness when dealing with the health and education of the masses. That both the important sectors are in a dismal state merits no debate.

A recent report relating to the health sector substantiates the claim. It says that no less than 88% of the health facilities in Punjab — the most densely populated province of the country — do not have anti-rabies vaccine.

A special investigation conducted by the Special Branch of Punjab police has revealed that the life-saving vaccine is not available in 1,851 of the 2,118 health facilities in the province, with its southern parts faring the worst.

What is even more distressing is that Dera Ghazi Khan, the hometown of none other than Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, only has 12 health facilities, of a total of 217, where this important vaccine is available.

The Special Branch report exposes the scale of negligence on the part of both the health authorities and the district governments, claiming that 15 people had died of bites from stray dogs and 1,945 others had been injured in various parts of the province. The unavailability of the vaccine does constitute criminal negligence which must not go unnoticed.

The CM did order action against the health authorities over their failure to ensure provision of life-saving vaccine to public sector health facilities, but not before several precious lives have been lost. The Special Branch report says that Punjab has been witnessing a sharp increase in dog-bite cases, mostly among children.

The statistics are simply appalling and stress the need for adopting remedial measures on an urgent basis. What is worse is that four state-run teaching hospitals of the province — including Children’s Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital and Nawaz Sharif Social Security Hospital Lahore — also lack the vital vaccine.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2019.

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