Pregnant woman dies due to health workers’ incompetence

Bajura, July 2

A four-month pregnant woman died of rabies infection in Badhu VDC on Friday when health workers could not decide whether or not anti-rabies vaccine can be administered to pregnant women.

Maya Auji, 23, of the VDC breathed her last yesterday, one-and-a-half months after the rabies infection was detected.

Maya had been bitten by a stray dog some one-and-a-half months ago in the village. Relatives had taken her to Kolti Primary Health Center for treatment two days after the incident.

Dr Bikal Lamichhane of Kolti Primary Health Center said Maya was then referred to the district hospital because the primary health center did not have anti-rabies vaccines.

Maya’s family members said the health workers in the district hospital were in a dilemma over whether or not administer anti-rabies vaccine to the four month pregnant woman. The health workers then advised them to take Maya to another health facility, saying the vaccine cannot be administered to pregnant women.

The family members said they had returned home from there because they did not have the money to take Maya to a different health facility. Maya succumbed to rabies infection at her home.

Although a theoretical risk of anti-rabies vaccines exists for pregnant women, several studies have failed to identify any of those risks. Rabies poses a much bigger danger, as the rate of fatality of a rabies infected pregnant woman is 100 per cent.

Dr Lamichhane said that as many as 25 cases of possible rabies infection have come to the health facility in the last two months.

The government had announced free health service to the poor, but people still die untimely deaths due to their inability to pay for treatment.

Civil Society leader Sher Bahadur Shahi said that the government’s announcement to provide free health services to the poor has never been implemented. It has also been reported that stray dogs and wild jackals have been terrifying locals in almost all VDCs in the northern part of the district for the last two months.

Gotri Health Post In-charge Jitendra Yadav said that the wild animals have bitten many locals and domestic animals.