Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Rabies Day on 28 September 2019 to prevent and fight against rising cases of Dog Mediated Human Rabies. The Department of Veterinary Services, DVS, has lined up a series of dog vaccinations and awareness programmes across the country to help educate the public on the importance of vaccinating their dogs and help prevent the existence and spread of rabies particularly from animal to humans.
The Zimbabwe Rabies Control Strategy is part of the DVS animal health management strategy that seeks to strengthen continuous farmer and stakeholder education to help manage diseases with little resources given the current economic challenges Zimbabwe is facing.
Speaking to AgriSeason Dr. Martin Sibanda, the Midlands Provincial Veterinary Officer said that his department is commemorating World Rabies Day and has put in place measures to control the spread of rabies from jackals, wild dogs and to humans despite the economic challenges that the country is facing.
Dr. Sibanda said that the dry conditions that we are experiencing and the general food scarcity in the animal areas usually forces a large number of jackals that are rabies frontier animals to move near humans. Dr. Sibanda added that the jackals are however not life carriers of rabies but can infect an animal or a dog before it passes the rabies to humans.
“The rabies vaccine that we have in the country is one of the most effective and the best medicine that has ever been produced in the history of medicine. The vaccine has been used in other countries for the total eradication of rabies.
The DVS is putting in place measures to ensure the prevention of the transmission of rabies from livestock and humans said Dr. Sibanda, adding that the rabies vaccines should be administered twice a year as dogs have a biannual reproduction cycle.
The Midlands veterinary head said that the country last managed to vaccinate dogs twice a year ten years ago and this poses a number of challenges in reducing incidences of rabies in the country.
In Gweru, the DVS vaccinated the dogs at Cloncila business Centre and at Mkoba 6 business centre for free. The DVS would also be vaccinating dogs at the provincial offices for a fee.
Dr. Sibanda encouraged dog owners to ensure that they vaccinate all their dogs at least twice a year as part of the dog owners’ responsibilities and in compliance with urban and local council by-laws. He warned that his department would be destroying all stray dogs as the first sign of a rabid dog is straying.
By Francis S. Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason