The Deputy Minister of Agriculture last Wednesday launched the Free Rabies Vaccination Campaign with the theme ‘Educate, Vaccinate, Eliminate”. He as well led the vaccination of the assembled dogs at the launching ground at the Department of Livestock Services in Abuko.
Deputy Minister Sheriffo Bojang stated that rabies remain one of the world’s most deadly disease but it is hundred percent preventable. He added that rabies kill an estimated 70,000 people in the world, mostly children in developing countries.
He said according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), approximately 95% of human cases of rabies is due to dog bites. He stated further that rabies is transmitted from animals to humans and the main source of the disease in African countries is unvaccinated dogs.
As a technical institution, he assured that the Department of Livestock Services will continue to work in collaboration with partners in order to control and eventually eliminate rabies from The Gambia.
On behalf of the Minister, he applauded DLS, partners and the entire Gambian community, especially those living in the Greater Banjul Area and rural growth centers, the tourism development areas, area councils and regional governors for their participation.
Dr. Duto Sainey Fofana, Director General of DLS affirmed that eradication of rabies is one of the priority areas of work of the tripartite institutions, made up of the Food and Agriculture Organization, OIE and the World Health Organization with set out principles that human rabies transmitted by dogs can be eradicated by vaccinating dogs. He added that vaccinating dogs against rabies is now advised as the most effective way of preventing human deaths from rabies.
Dr. Fofana noted that as of August 2016, 12.5 million anti-rabies vaccines have been disseminated by OIE out of which, 4 million have been directly delivered by the OIE to 15 countries including The Gambia to aid their national vaccination programmes.
In continuation of the free campaign and vaccination, he announced different vaccination centres across the country for everyone to visit.
by Yunus S Saliu