20,000 snake bite cases registered every year in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A total of 20,000 snake bite cases are registered every year in Pakistan, and the mortality rate is around 1.9 per 100,000 population as per a report of the Public Health Research Council (PHRC), the Senate was told.

In a written reply to two separate question by Senator Samina Saeed and Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, the Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination apprised the Upper House that there is no shortage of Anti Snake Venom Serum (ASVS) as such in the Country.

The minister told that the National Institute of Health (NIH) is the only producer of ASVS in Pakistan; and it currently produce 25,000 to 30,000 vials annually. The minister also told that in case of a supply demand gap, the Anti Snake Venom Serum is imported by private sector mostly from India due to the same type of snakes and regional conditions.

The Senate was further apprised that keeping in view the Country’s future requirement, a new mega sera project with enhanced capacity of up to 100,000 vials is under construction and will be operational by August/September 2019. It was told that on the completion of this project, Pakistan will not only gradually meet the Country’s demand but also be able to export ASV to the neighboring Countries.

To another question by Senator Samina Saeed, the Minister for National Health Services told that there was a temporary shortage of anti-rabies vaccine in November and December 2018, due to quality issues in the leading manufacturing countries i.e. China.

Rabies is a disease of Third World Country caused by dog bite; therefore, this vaccine is mainly manufactured in china and India.

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The minister told that after January 2019, the supply have become available again and presently there is no shortage of ant-rabies vaccine. He told that Pakistan is itself rabies manufacturing Country.

The national health services minister told that the NIH Islamabad has also started manufacturing and supplying rabies vaccine to all government hospitals. It is expected that there will be no shortage of this vaccine due to local manufacturing as well as import of rabies vaccine from China and other Countries.