With about 600 Filipinos die of rabies every year and the number still increasing prompted Rep. Gavini Pancho (2nd District, Bulacan) to file a bill urging the pharmaceutical companies in the country to produce special single packaging of anti-rabies vaccine.
Pancho said the bill authorizes the Department of Health (DOH) to transact with the pharmaceutical companies to produce a rabies vaccine that can be singly administered to patient and made available in all government hospitals.
At present, Pancho said the government hospitals are providing free vaccine to three patients bitten by dogs or other animals all at the same time.
“An individual victim needs to wait for two more patients before the vaccine can be administered to them by government doctors,” Pancho said.
Pancho said there are 400 health centers all over the country attending to rabies patients, about 20 can be found in Manila to include the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa and the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.
“The problem lies in access to the vaccine particularly with the poor people because the cost acquiring vaccination shots is extremely high even for the financial capacity of minimum wage earners,” Pancho said.
Pancho said the Philippines ranked fifth in the list of the World Health Organization (WHO) in terms of prevalence of rabies in a specific area.
“This of course does not include unrecorded incidents or those cases that did not reach the health centers or hospitals,” Pancho said. PNA