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The Formation of the Eastern Africa Rabies Network: A Sub-Regional Approach to Rabies Elimination
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  • Pubmed ID:
    28845466
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5568643
  • Description:
    International rabies networks have been formed in many of the canine-rabies endemic regions around the world to create unified and directed regional approaches towards elimination. The aim of the first sub-regional Eastern Africa rabies network meeting, which included Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda, was to discuss how individual country strategies could be coordinated to address the unique challenges that are faced within the network. The Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination and the Global Dog Rabies Elimination Pathway tool were used to stimulate discussion and planning to achieve the elimination of canine-mediated human rabies by 2030. Our analysis estimated a total dog population of 18.3 million dogs in the Eastern Africa region. The current dog vaccination coverage was estimated to be approximately 5% (915,000 dogs), with an estimated 4910 vaccinators available. Assuming that every vaccinator performs rabies vaccination, this equated to each vaccinator currently vaccinating 186 dogs per year, whilst the target would be to vaccinate 2609 dogs every year for the community to reach 70% coverage. In order to achieve the World Health Organization-recommended 70% vaccination coverage, an additional 11 million dogs need to be vaccinated each year, pointing to an average annual shortfall of $ 23 million USD in current spending to achieve elimination by 2030 across the region. Improved vaccination efficiency within the region could be achieved by improving logistics and/or incorporating multiple vaccination methods to increase vaccinator efficiency, and could serve to reduce the financial burden associated with rabies elimination. Regional approaches to rabies control are of value, as neighboring countries can share their unique challenges while, at the same time, common approaches can be developed and resource-saving strategies can be implemented.

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