Posted by: geekycrochetmom | April 10, 2012

Pet Love and Rabies (in a Developing Country)

Last week, I’ve told you about our newest “baby”, Peanut.

At 7 weeks, she’s too young to get her anti-rabies shot (due at 12 to 14 weeks old). She did receive 2 doses of parvo-etc shots, courtesy of her breeder.

She’s adorable, a real bundle of energy, very playful and always excited to see us. She also has this habit of licking and letting her teeth lightly graze one’s feet, especially early in the morning when she sees any one of us for the first time after an apparently long night (she still cries in her cage at night). We let her roam around in the backyard during the day. To protect her, though, it has been decided it would be best for her to stay in the cage at night. An unwelcome stray cat comes to “visit” and wreak havoc on our trash bins.

Last Black Saturday, while the Boy and I were in the backyard, Peanut scratched him on his right foot. It wasn’t a simple scratch. Panicking, the Boy told me he quickly pulled his foot away from the puppy’s mouth. I saw a tiny puncture on his foot. Though there was no obvious bleeding, I immediately washed his feet with soap and water, applied alcohol, and called Hubby who was then having his “me-time” at the driving range.

We wasted no time and rushed him to the E.R. where he got 2 Rabies vaccine shots (Verorab). Two out of the 3 doctors who saw him thought that the wound was a category 3, which meant that in addition to the vaccines, he needed rabies immunoglobulin. When we asked for the estimated cost of the whole course, it was at a ridiculous price of 25,000 pesos (roughly more than US$ 500)! Hubby and I couldn’t believe it, and frankly I felt a bit weak at the knees.

After he got the shots that were needed ASAP, thankfully, we found out that we had the option of bringing him to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang  after the long weekend/holidays for the rest of the course. I praise God as it’s only a 20-minute drive away from our home.

So, this morning, we drove to RITM and were surprised to find a small crowd. There were queues and specific instructions, but two hours after all the necessary forms have been filled out, the doctors have not come yet (still doing rounds) and we we knew we were probably more than 20, even 30, patients behind the first one.

(You can see the boy seated up there in the photo, lower right. There were a lot more people waiting for their turn outside of the building).

Thankfully, through the kindness of the lady guard, Hubby learned that the institute had a CIDTRAM, aptly nicknamed the “Fast Lane”, a sort of private clinic of the institute. There was a consultation fee, and the medicines were a bit more expensive, but still way cheaper than those in private hospitals. This was the corridor outside of the fast lane, see the difference?

Shiny floors, with enough seats for patients and companions. We were second in line, the clinic was clean and airconditioned. After the skin test, we were done with the shots in maybe a quarter of an hour. Hubby also decided to get his pre-exposure shot and we intend to bring the girls and our nannies next time so they could get their shots, too

Not counting the painful skin test, the Boy got 4 shots all in all – Verorab, tetanus toxoid, and the equine immunoglobulin which was given on the thigh, and on the wound itself. The last one on the wound was particularly painful. Hubby and I hugged and restrained him and boy, did his cries and yells fill the room. I caught a glimpse of the grown-ups who were waiting in line and I couldn’t tell if their facial expressions showed fear or pity (probably both).

Moving along, I am thankful that we have the means and access to provide the necessary health protection for our family. At the same time, I couldn’t help feeling guilty about the huge disparity between the long queues in the other building and our comfy fast lane. When we walked out of the institute, my heart felt sad as I looked over the crowd on the other side. They were bored but still patiently waiting for their turns to come.

Such is the sorry state of affairs in this beloved, third-world country of ours. Thanks to Hubby’s work (the office would reimburse our medical expenses), we had the option of choosing comfort over cost. My hope and dream is that someday, there would be no need for a “fast lane”. Every lane would be fast, and every room would be comfortable, and medicine would be available to every one in need.

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Responses

  1. Hi may i ask how much does the vaccines cost during the first day? (Regular lane) Thank you.

    • Hi Ruth. I’ve forgotten how much it costs at the regular lane (I just know it was MUCH cheaper than in the fast lane. It would depend on (1) the weight of the patient, and (2) whether the patient exposure was category I, II, or III. The doctor would have to assess the wound first; category III (if the skin has been punctured) would require not just the vaccine but also the immunoglobulin. Immunoglobulin is the more expensive drug. Hope this helps a bit. Thanks for stopping by!


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