Child protection, dog bites and us.
Eight year old Rizwan from Shikarpur, was the 5th child to die in Karachi as a result of a dog bite this year, as anti-rabies vaccine is not available anywhere in the interior of Sindh. Why is it not available and how much does it cost.
Dr. Naseem Salahuddin, Pakistan’s eminent Infectious Diseases specialist confirms that a full course of vaccine including RIG in severe cases, costs Rs.1200. So Rs. 5 million was all we needed to provide protection to some 4000 cases of dog bites.
The Child Protection Department, responsible to protect the children of Sindh, received a budget of Rs. 50 million some 2 years back. In one single day the entire amount was blown up by the department in buying 9 luxury cars for its inept officials and furniture for its invisible offices. Both the cars and the furniture have evaporated in thin air.
It is true that the government indulged in neglect and callousness. But what is even more disturbing and unfortunate is the role of the elite and the self-centered segment of our society. It chose to remain silent. It behaved as if it had nothing to do with the dog bites, the dying children, the misappropriated vehicles or the budget laundering.
The government is not likely to awaken by itself. The disproportionately privileged section of our society, whose own children are well protected, ought to raise its voice and push the government for reforms. Till then the dogs shall continue to bite and the children of Pakistan shall continue to die for lack of anti-rabies vaccine.