Nationwide shortage of BCG vaccines

Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, April 6:

The country is running short of BCG vaccines from the last three months adversely affecting the national immunisation drive. "The stock of vaccine is all used up now and we have not been able to supply such to the health centres for the past two and half months," Dr Ashok Kumar Chaurasiya, the director of Western Regional Health Directorate said.

He admitted that the directorate was not able to provide the BCG vaccine in Kaski, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Nawalparasi districts. The Health Service Department (HSD) also informed that the exhaustion of stock of the vaccine has created nationwide shortage. Sources at the Health Service Department also informed that the National Planning Commission had supplied only Rs 30 million to the department this year against Rs 50 millions that used to be supplied in the past years. Shortage of budget has created problems in purchasing the vaccines, they said.Earlier, the UNICEF used to cover all the expenses of the vaccines but since last year it is contributing only 50 per cent of the total cost of vaccines while the government has to cover the rest.

UNICEF, at present, provides 10-15 thousand vaccines each year. However, Dr Mahendra Keshari Kshetri claimed there was no dearth of BCG vaccines. Stating that the problem had surfaced last year, Dr Kshetri said, "The vaccines have already arrived and will be distributed all over the country as soon as the lab test is completed." Padriologist Dr Binod

Tulachan said the unavailability of BCG vaccine is sheer negligence regarding public health. He added the delayed immunisation would not be much effective.