Tanzania to mark ‘World Rabies Day’ through mass dog vaccination  

25Sep 2018
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Tanzania to mark ‘World Rabies Day’ through mass dog vaccination  

TANZANIA to mark this year’s World Rabies Day through mass dog vaccination in two districts as there are estimated 1,500 human rabies deaths annually in the country, it has been revealed.

The event will be held on 28th September, this year as the world marks the twelfth World Rabies Day to bring together the global communities to fight against rabies. The theme for this year is “Rabies: Share the message, Save a life”.

According to acting Director of Veterinary Services in the ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Martin Ruheta, the Ifakara Health Research Institute in collaboration with Bahi District Veterinary Office will conduct dog mass vaccination in Bahi District.

He added that the Mwalimu Nyerere University in close collaboration with an NGO- Global Animal Health-T will undertake mass dog vaccination in Butiama District, Mara Region.

At the same time, the World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) sub regional office in Nairobi, Kenya in collaboration with an NGO-Arusha Society for Protection of Animals and district veterinary office will extend awareness creation and mass dog vaccination activities in Monduli District.

He noted that records from the Ministry of Health shows in 2017 recorded cases of animal bites were 28,000,adding that the cost of treating patients infested by rabies virus is estimated to be $ 44 compared to the cost of vaccinating a single dog estimated to be less than $7.

“Clearly, it is by far cheaper and economical to invest on disease prevention through mass dog vaccination,” he said, adding that the human treatment figure is extremely high for rural-based communities where most of the infections occur.

Muheta noted that rabies is an invariably fatal but preventable viral disease and has been one of the most feared diseases throughout human history, having the highest human case-fertility proportion of any infectious disease.

OIE-World Health Organisation (WHO) tripartite recently declared a target for the global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030 and launched the united against rabies collaboration.

As a result of the global campaign to eliminate rabies there is pressing need to investigate end game challenges and to formulate effective strategies to overcome them.

The director said, on the back-drop of such global initiatives, at country level, a blue print-rabies control strategy has been formulated jointly by ministry responsible for human and animal control strategy under One Health Framework.

The overall coordination of the implementation, he said will be under Prime Minister’s Office, Disaster Management Department. “The strategy is aligned to the global rabies elimination framework and the target is to eliminate the disease by 2030”, he added.