Phalombe district has run out of anti-rabies vaccine which is given to people bitten by dogs or cats.
According to the district’s health office, about 100 people every month seek the vaccine hence the situation is worrisome.
One of the patients told Malawi24 that when he went to get the injection he was told by health officers to go to Mulanje to get the help or buy the vaccine if he can afford.
“I was told to go to Mulanje to get injected since there is no any medicine of rabies at Phalombe health centre,” he said.
When contacted to comment, the district health office (DHO) spokesperson, Daniel Chiromo, admitted that the district’s medicine stores has run out of the anti-rabies vaccine.
“Yes it’s true we sent back people today who were supposed to get anti rabies vaccine,” he said.
However, he said that they have now ordered some from Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) which they hope will be supplied very soon.
“We had a meeting today where we have ordered the vaccine from CMST which we are just waiting them to supply to us,” Chiromo added.
Phalombe District Commissioner, Gossam Mafuta, is on record having said that most of the cases are happening in areas which are nearer to Mozambican border mainly in traditional authorities of Nazombe, Nkhulambe and Chiwalo.
Last month, Mafuta ordered the sectors involved in the matter such as agriculture, health and police to draft a budget so that anti-rabies campaign which will involve vaccination of dogs and cats as well as shooting down stray dogs should be done to curb the problem.
According to the DHO, vaccine for one animal bite victim costs Mk100,000.
District’s Agriculture Development Officer, Jackson Mkombezi, revealed in an interview that the proposed budget for the said campaign is about Mk10 million.
He then asked wellwishers to intervene and help in sourcing the funds for the campaign to be implemented.
Phalombe district has over 28000 dogs and cats of which many individuals and civil society organisations have condemned saying the population is high.
Rabies is a highly fatal disease that primarily affects warm-blooded animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and bats, but which can be transmitted to humans by infected animals.
The rabies virus, which is present in the saliva of an infected animal, is passed to a human through a bite, or rarely, when the animal’s saliva gets in contact with a scratch or fresh break in the skin.