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Taking Vaccines the Last Mile

18 7 14
15.02.2019

GHAZIABAD, UTTAR PRADESH – A four-year-old girl recently came to the emergency room where I work as a resident doctor. She was writhing in pain, her body convulsed with seizures. My team and I moved fast to activate seizure protocol, secure her intravenous drip, and deliver all appropriate medications. We then performed a test: I blew air toward her, and she collapsed in pain; I offered her water, and her agony intensified sharply. The diagnosis was clear: she had rabies – and it was too late to save her.

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The girl’s family knew that a dog had bitten her, but they had been told that traditional herbs would heal her, so they had delayed taking her to the hospital. She died after less than a day in our care. Had her parents taken her to a hospital immediately for the anti-rabies serum and the appropriate vaccination – she would still be alive. Her grief-stricken mother’s tormented screams still echo in my mind.

As a resident doctor in........

© Project Syndicate