KARACHI: A minor boy was mauled by at least half-a-dozen dogs. A day after that, he was brought to the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) in critical condition on Friday.
The victim was six-year-old minor boy Hasnain Bughio, son of Ghulam Hussain. The boy was attacked on Thursday by at least half-a-dozen stray dogs near his home that is located in Habib Bughio village, some five kilometres from Larkana city.
The six-year-old minor boy Hasnain Bughio was rescued by the villagers, and was brought to the Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana, in critical condition. His uncle, Saddam Bughio narrated that “He was unconscious when we found him among the dogs.” He added “He was brutally attacked and his face is badly disfigured.”
The doctors owed to the severity of the injuries in Larkana and after administering first-aid, the doctors referred the injured boy Hasnain Bughio to Karachi. The boy’s uncle Saddam Bughio spoke to the anchors and said that Hasnain Bughio was first taken to Indus Hospital, from where he was referred to the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Institute of Trauma at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital. The doctors refused to treat the case at that hospital too and referred the family to the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). The victim’s uncle Saddam Bughio said “We were told that his treatment was not possible at the hospital”. He added “We were referred to the fourth hospital in a day”.
Later in the afternoon, the doctors of National Institute of Child Health (NICH) said that the boy was in critical condition and was kept under observation. The doctors further added that the best treatment was being provided to him.
Situation in Larkana
Much like the rest of the province, Larkana has also seen a surge in the number of dog-bite cases. Recently, the Sindh High Court also took notice of the uptick in the cases and as a result, the Sindh government was ordered to take immediate steps to control the population of stray dogs.
According to statistics collected by officials of the Dog Bite Centre in Larkana, which is not more than a small room in the Commissioner’s Office, over 13,000 cases of dog bite have been reported from the five districts of Larkana division since October 1.
Of these, around 3,000 cases were reported in Larkana city in the month of October alone. The in-charge of the centre, Dr Noor Din Qazi told the news anchors that “We have enlisted over 1,400 cases in the last 15 days.”
The in-charge of the centre, Dr Noor Din Qazi added “We deal with at least 100 cases on a daily basis”. He continued “There is no dearth of vaccines but we don’t stock them at the centre.” He further explained that the centre was currently being provided 50 vials of the anti-rabies vaccine every day. Each vial has enough vaccine to be administered to two victims.
Meanwhile, the health officials of the district told the news anchors that despite the claims made by the district government and the directions of the Sindh government, the drive against stray dogs was not being accelerated. One of the officials said that “Kutta muham bhi corruption ki nazar ho gaey [The anti-dog campaign has also been made a victim of corruption].” He added “There is fear among the people of Larkana.” The official continued by adding that the government was not taking practical measures to get rid of the menace.
Another official told that there was a shortage of ARV earlier, but after the orders given by the court, the supply was ensured. He said “There is no shortage of vaccines but that is not the solution. Why aren’t concrete measures being taken against stray dogs? Their population keeps multiplying.”
Health minister draws ire
Meanwhile, the provincial health minister, Dr Azra Pechuho, drew flak on social media and civil activists and she also advised children not to tease stray dogs. “They [stray dogs] attack when they are annoyed,” said the health minister, advising people to stay away from stray dogs.
After meeting with the NICH administration, Dr Pechuho said that Hasnain was in critical condition. She said “We don’t have specialists [in rural Sindh]. Specialists earn more money from private hospitals and don’t want to work outside Karachi.”
The government’s plan
The Sindh government, on the other hand, claims to have made a plan to curb the growing population of stray dogs in the province. “There will be no stray dogs in Sindh after five to eight years,” claimed local government secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh, while speaking to Media.
According to Shaikh, a grand operation will be launched in order to vaccinate stray dogs. “They will also be tagged,” he explained, adding that the PC-1 of the project would be presented to the technical committee on Monday.
Shaikh said that public awareness is one of the major components of the plan. “We need to understand our attitude towards animals. They react badly when annoyed.”