WORLD RABIES DAY: Uganda marks day in Gomba

Activities in Kapchorwa
School children presented messages about rabies in Gomba. PHOTO MAAIF MEDIA

UGANDA has joined other countries around the world in commemorating World Rabies Day and using the day to create more awareness about the viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. While rabies is 100% preventable, the disease continues to cause significant loss in finances and lives.

At the forefront of the Rabies Day activities held in Gomba Thursday under the theme “Rabies: All for one, #OneHealth4All” were school children who presented messages about the danger of rabies.

Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA)top officials were in Gomba for the national celebrations, but activities were also held separately in many districts across the country.

UVA has  partnered with MAAIF and other stakeholders in commemorating the World Rabies Day (WRD) in different districts including Busia (2018), Kiryandongo (2019), Arua (2021) and Tororo (2022) and this year Gomba.

“Our members all over the country have been indeed vigorous in continued awareness and prevention of rabies together with the human medical personnel under the One Health approach and we thank our counterparts for always helping us with vaccination storage facilities whenever approached,” said Dr Daniel Kasibule, UVA President at the Gomba rabies day event. (Click for full speech)

“The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) provides the vaccine and the vaccination certificates. The Local Government veterinary staff under the Agricultural Extension Conditional Grant  carry out awareness to the different stakeholders who then bring their dogs and cats for vaccination,” he added.

On average, a total of 13,009 suspected rabies cases in humans are recorded annually through the Health Management System of the Ministry of Health in Uganda with the incident rate of 42.4 -56.7 per 100,000 people.

Over 975 suspected cases (on average) are recorded annually in animals through passive surveillance at the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre. On average, 32 people and 130 animals die of rabies annually.

Uganda spends more than 7 billion Uganda shillings each year to purchase anti-rabies treatment for humans and more than 1 billion shillings annually for procuring rabies vaccines for animals.

Ready for vaccination

“Government is supporting the fight against rabies in Uganda by implementing the rabies elimination strategy through the MAAIF Directorate of Animal Resources, line Ministries and the veterinary fraternity,” said Dr. Flavia Nakanjako, Senior Veterinary Officer from the Ministry of Agricultue, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF ), who represented the Minister.

The fight against rabies in Uganda is guided by the National Rabies Elimination Strategy (2022-2030) of the Government of Uganda, which is premised on 5 key pillars.

The five are: Mass vaccination of animals especially dogs and cats, and humans at risk; Vaccination of veterinary and public health professionals at risk;  Mass awareness creation among different stakeholders; Enhancing rabies surveillance for both animal and public health and creating a database that can guide decisions on rabies control; Advocacy to ensure the commitment of resources to this noble cause of ending rabies by 2030.

“We urge owners of dogs and cats to try as much as possible to keep their animals within their premises and keep them from straying,” said Dr. Resty Baliyana, District Veterinary Officer for Gomba District.

Nationwide activities


UVA president Kasibule (2nd left) and officials in Gomba Thursday. Below, Makeere students and UVA General Secretary Dr Sitenda after the activities.

“We welcome the continued efforts of the Ministry in rolling out vaccination of dogs and cats against rabies and call upon more and more people to embrace this step by presenting their cats and dogs for vaccination,” said Ivan Kizito, LC5 Chairperson of Gomba District as he welcomed officals to the celebrations.

“We urge owners of dogs and cats to try as much as possible to keep their animals within their premises and keep them from straying,” said Dr. Resty Baliyana, District Veterinary Officer for Gomba District.

The Kapchorwa veterinary team, led by Dr Levi Cheptoyek, were able to vaccinate 397 pets and carried out 17 surgeries. The team also visited a primary school and had a radio talk show at Elgon Radio station

“Thanks goes to VSF Germany for the vaccines, Dr. Saul Chemonges, UVA and Kapchorwa local government for efforts towards rabies awareness in Sebei,” said Dr Levi Cheptoyek at the end of the day’s activities.

In Northern Uganda, teams vaccinated 862 at Pabbo in Amuru District.

“Today, Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Rabies Day in Gomba District. Special thanks to whoever participated in the prevention and control of rabies in country. I thank you for driving the fight to end rabies by 2030,” said Dr. Nabadda Sitenda Madrine, Vice President, Uganda Veterinary Association.



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