Rabies Free Africa celebrate World Rabies Day by hitting 2.5 million dogs vaccinated 2022
World Rabies Day The Paul G. Allen School for Global Health at Washington State University announced today that over 2.5 million dogs have been vaccinated as part of the Rabies Free Africa program. RFA has distributed over two million rabies vaccinations to date, making it the first program of its kind in Africa.
World Rabies Day serves as a reminder that rabies, a preventable disease that kills over 50,000 people, mostly children, each year, is still prevalent. RFA has built on local partnerships since 2003 and has worked with African governments to eliminate rabies as a human health risk.
On mass dog vaccination campaigns, rabies is eliminated not only in dogs but also in humans, livestock, and wildlife. As a result, there have been zero canine rabies cases in endangered wildlife species at Serengeti National Park since the program began.
Prior to these efforts, wildlife outbreaks were common. The excellent working relationship between the Tanzanian Government and RFA has enabled us to accomplish this crucial work,” said Dr. Felix Lankester, director of Rabies Free Tanzania.
RFA works with the district veterinary offices of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, as well as central and local government authorities, to vaccinate more than 220 villages annually. Furthermore, RFA educates thousands of people about the dangers of rabies and how it can be prevented, resulting in hundreds of human lives saved since the program began.
Africa celebrate World Rabies Day
The decision to use Nobivac™ rabies vaccines for the 2.5 million vaccination drive was based on the fact that it can be stored at 30 C for up to three months without losing its potency. As a result, Zeepots, a passive cooling device, were developed, which allows hundreds of rabies vaccine doses to be stored and kept cool without electricity.
This allowed the vaccine to be produced locally. Through the generosity of MSD Animal Health, MSD Animal Health and the Tanzanian government are key partners in the programme,” Lankester said. “Working together, we are getting closer to the World Health Organization’s goal of Zero by 30, the global strategic plan to eliminate dog-mediated rabies by 2030.”
Inhabitants of Tanzania, like other regions in Africa where rabies is endemic, are diverse and varied. Because of this, a wide range of communities and landscapes, it is not feasible to come up with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to eliminating rabies.
To increase the reach of mass dog vaccinations in regions where rabies is endemic, RFA will continue its successful dog vaccination campaigns while seeking out new, cost-effective delivery models.