TANZANIA has recorded success in managing the rabies outbreak, allowing it to serve as a model for the rest of the globe in terms of how to halt contagious diseases from spreading globally.
This was unveiled in the report titled ‘Epidemics that didn’t Happen’ that was conducted by the non-profit international organization Resolve to Save Lives.
However, the research that was presented yesterday in Dar es Salaam further indicated that continuing to invest in health care is an important strategy for combating the current epidemics.
According to the report, the government of Tanzania managed to put in place a well-coordinated and multidisciplinary team that made possible the alleviation of the pandemic.
The report has it that, if left untreated, rabies is nearly universally fatal usually within two weeks of symptom onset.
“With the coordination of a multidisciplinary team in Tanzania, an outbreak of the viral disease was controlled, providing a model for collaborative public health response in effectively preventing a possible epidemic,” read part of the report.
It is estimated that rabies causes deaths of 59,000 people in the world every year, majority being the vulnerable children; however the disease can be inoculated with placement of proper public health mechanisms.
The report also shows that investment in preparedness, combined with swift, strategic responses by public health authorities, can stop disease outbreaks, saving lives and preventing suffering.
Commenting on the achievements that have been recorded in Tanzania, the President Resolve to Save Lives Dr Tom Frieden called for continued investment in health security.
“Successes of front-line public health workers around the world prove that public health works when we invest in and prioritize strengthening health systems—especially at the national and subnational levels,” he elaborated further.
The highest death rates occur in the poorest countries in Africa, and the burden falls disproportionately on communities that lack access to robust public health and health care systems.
Resolve to Save Lives latest Epidemics that Didn’t happen’’, report celebrates successful, real-life outbreak responses, like the swift action taken in Tanzania, and highlights different aspects of effective public health programs,” he added further.
For her part, the organisations’ Senior Vice-President Amanda McClelland said community action is crucial to preventing epidemics.
“Public health officials’ engagement with communities pays off because it builds trust in the health system,” she said.
Adding; “Another key component is protecting health care workers, who are the frontline of defense against outbreaks. When primary health care centers are safe work environments, patients and health care workers are protected and are better able to detect and respond to health threats before they spiral out of control”.
The case studies were developed with support from health ministries and global health organizations including, Indonesian Red Cross Society, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Vital Strategies and FAME Hospital.