M a r k e t N e w s

Govt. launches committee to eliminate rabies by 2030

Posted on : Thursday, 18th August 2016

  A national committee to spearhead the elimination of mediated rabies in Kenya by the year 2030 has been launched.

The Director of Medical services, Dr. Jackson Kioko launched the 10 member National Rabies Elimination Coordination committee today to implement the National Rabies Elimination Strategy of 2014 to enable the country to eradicate rabies.
A KES 1.15 billion pilot phase has been launched in Makueni, Machakos, Kitui, Siaya and Kisumu Counties to vaccinate 500,000 dogs against the deadly disease.
‘’ 70 percent of the project’s funding will provide free antibodies and a series of five vaccines to anyone who gets bit by a dog,’’ Dr. Kioko said.
The DMS noted that activities have already begun in Makueni County, which has the highest incidence of rabies in the country.
The DMS observed that the disease claims 2,000 human lives in Kenya every year and is ranked as one of the top five zoonotic diseases for prevention and control. Children below 15 accounts for 40 percent of those affected.
“The National Rabies Elimination Strategy 2014 provides for systematic reduction of rabies risk through sustained mass dog vaccination, pre and post exposure prophylaxis and public education until the country is completely free,” Dr. Kioko empathized.
Rabies kills up to 60,000 people per year worldwide and in Kenya, 1,000 to 2,000 human deaths are due to rabies. It is also ranked as one of the top five zoonotic diseases for prevention and control in Kenya.
Rabies is caused by a virus that affects domestic and wild animals and is transmitted to human beings through bites, scratches or saliva contact with an infected animal.
“Despite the fact that rabies is the only communicable disease of man which is nearly 100 percent fatal, the good news is that it is 100 percent preventable,” Dr. Kioko explained.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Principal Secretary, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe urged Kenyans to ensure that their dogs are vaccinated because the disease had a high fatality rate.
He urged the coordination committee to ensure they implement the elimination strategy in order for Kenya to eradicate the disease just as it had done with Rinderpest.
“My daughter was once bitten by a dog but the owner showed us that it had been vaccinated but I remember a village in Turkana where people live closely with their dogs without knowing what rabies is about,” he observed.
Elimination of rabies requires sustained annual mass dog vaccination in a period of three years to cover at least 70 percent of the dog population. The mass vaccination is also a cost effective strategy as it reduces the cost of managing human cases.

Source : www.health.go.ke
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