Ministry to raise awareness on rabies disease

TANZANIA: THE Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries plans to conduct countrywide awareness education about rabies disease ahead of the 17th World Rabies Day to be marked on September 28.

Rabies is a fatal, but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.

In Tanzania there will be a week-long activity from 24th to 28th September to create awareness on the rabies disease and its effects as well as how to prevent it.

“We want to have a broad understanding of rabies disease. By the climax of the World Rabies Day, we would have provided education in the councils, religious buildings and schools,” Assistant Director for Veterinary Public Health from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Stanford Ndibalema told the ‘Daily News’ on Monday.

Dr Ndibalema said the awareness will part of efforts to reduce the rate of cases and deaths by 70 per cent by 2030 in the country, other measure includes vaccinating people.

“We have planned to run a five-year programme in which we will be vaccinating at least 70 per cent of all dogs and cats in the country to eliminate the disease and deaths,” said Dr Ndibalema, adding that the vaccination exercise will run for five years.

He said in collaboration with other stakeholders they will have the vaccines, medicines, tools, and technologies to fight the disease.

“Leaving no one behind, together we can eliminate rabies,” said Dr Ndibalema.

He said they anticipated to vaccinate 135,000 dogs and rats during this year’s campaign.

“We have formed a technical committee involving responsible ministries like Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, as well as the Environment to get a accuracy information on rabies bites cases and deaths in each region,” said Dr Ndibalema.

He said in 2022 there were 26,099 rabies bite cases while deaths were almost 2000.

The 2022 report showed that Songea District Council led with 132 deaths followed by Mkuranga with 132 deaths and the third was Kindononi with 122 deaths.

According to the 2022 report, Dodoma City Council led by having 967 rabies bites, followed by Arusha City Council 777 and Mvomero District Council 572.

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