The hospital /clinic or health center is a place people come to seek medical help to get better from their sickness or ill-health. But in Ghana, some health service centers are gradually becoming mere scare crows of what they should be. And instead they are rendering services that are causing more harm to the patients.
One of such harms is the management of patients with dog bites. The trend in most Ghanaian hospitals and clinics is the administration of tetanus injections to people after dog bites and sending them home.
This act has caused the death of many Ghanaians who thought they had received adequate care after visiting the hospital. The patients who are given tetanus injections end up getting Rabies and then they die.
It is sad to know that these persons took the initiative to go seek medical help but due to the “inexcusable ignorance” of some “health professionals” in Ghana, they lose their lives.
“Tetanus does not prevent rabies after a dog bite! “
So here is what should be done after a patient comes with a dog bite.
- Ask when the dog bite happened.
- Where it happened. Most dog bites that are often reported happen outside of the victim’s home. Some happen in the bush, in the farm, in the vicinity where they live or in someone’s house. Knowing where it happened gives you an idea as to the kind of dog that bit the patient if the dog is a stray dog (which is mostly the case) or has an owner. Stray dogs have a high probability of carrying rabies.
- What was done after the bite. The right thing to do is to wash the area affected with soap under running water. But if something else was done, the area should still be washed thoroughly at the clinic with povidine iodine.
- Give anti-rabies post exposure prophylaxis. This is an injection given after the bite. It may not be available in some health care centers so if you can’t get it in your hospital or clinic, please write it for the patient to buy from a pharmacy or refer them to another hospital higher than your facility.
- Ask them to monitor the dog: If a dog with rabies bites a person, the dog usually dies after a few days. By monitoring the dog, you can know if the dog has rabies or not.
Let’s learn together to save lives.
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