The government, especially the technical services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Public Health, and development partners, have always been concerned about rabies in this sub-prefecture.
The issue of rabies is present in Banian as well, and stray dog bites are typically the main cause.
However, the rural populace has little to no knowledge about this condition (neglect of bite cases, non-reporting of bites to the relevant services, etc.). The virus that causes rabies, which primarily affects youngsters and makes them more susceptible because of interaction with pets, damages the nervous system.
â€œThe rabies situation in Banian is worrying and constitutes a real public health problemâ€ said Dr. Alpha Oumar Barry, animal health consultant at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Guinea, referring to the two cases of confirmed dog rabies, 19 reported dog bites to humans and nine dog-eaten animals in the Banian sub-prefecture, located in east-central Guinea, from January to February 2022.
Dog-transmitted human rabies kills tens of thousands of people each year, mostly in rural and underdeveloped regions of Africa, despite being completely preventable. In areas of the world where rabies is still a serious problem, effective rabies control requires drive, dedication, and funding.
The Ministry of Livestock of Guinea developed a dog vaccination and response plan in response to the risk of rabies exposure for those who are bitten, working with partners like the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), the National One Health Platform, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Breakthrough Action (BA).
Thanks to the dedication of dog owners, local authorities, the One Health Platform, and vaccination teams, over 2,500 dogs were immunised and de-wormed on May 9, 2022, in the Banian sub-prefecture. A month of awareness-raising broadcasts about how to behave to prevent rabies came before this program. The immunisation campaign raised awareness among dog owners of the advantages of pet vaccination while also demonstrating the efficiency of the One Health strategy in the battle against zoonotic illnesses.
In more than 150 nations worldwide, rabies is still a severe public health issue.
Dr. Ramalho LourenÃ§o Manuel, Head of Department of the Provincial Veterinary Services of Cabo Delgado affirmed that â€œas a government we cannot allow lives to be lost” because of rabies. â€œEverything is being done to make communities aware of the importance of vaccinating domestic animals to avoid rabiesâ€, he added.
On the other side of the African continent, in Mozambique, reports of a possible human rabies case sparked cooperation between the World Health Organization (WHO), Provincial Health Services (SPS), Provincial Health Directorate (DPS), and Provincial Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DPAP).
In Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique’s most northern region, a combined risk surveillance mission found that the rabies situation was concerning, with more than eight probable cases of human rabies infection since August 2021.
Through two community radio stations and a rabies vaccination campaign in the Mueda and Chiure districts, from June 27 to July 4, 2022, and from September 5 to 8, 2022, respectively, FAO ECTAD, DPAP, SPS/DPS, and WHO conducted a public awareness campaign on the risks and dangers of living with unvaccinated dogs with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This campaign covered the vaccination of 711 dogs out of 792, or 90% coverage.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services supplied logistics for shipping, and joint FAO, WHO, and government assessments as well as a One Health strategy for response proved cost-effective.
The district’s animal outreach service providers are prepared to complete the vaccine, but it is critical that all partners work together to ensure vaccination of the final 10% and 39% of dogs in Chiure and Mueda, respectively.