First field oral rabies vaccination of dogs in the north
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water Land Reform (MAWLR) successfully conducted its first field oral rabies vaccination of dogs in the Omusati and Oshana Regions mid-October, the ministry announced Thursday.
Rabies is endemic throughout Namibia, however, dog-mediated rabies poses a significant threat to public health in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).
“MAWLR could only attain about 76% vaccination coverage of total dog population in the NCAs where the rabies control programme is implemented, instead of the targeted 80% vaccination coverage to achieve herd immunity,” said MAWLR Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Albertina Shilongo.
According to Shilongo, one among many other reasons why was challenging to achieve herd immunity was the inability to access stray dogs as well as challenges experienced by some of the dog owners in handling and unable to present them at the vaccination points or veterinary offices for vaccination.
This first trial was carried out with close cooperation with the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute of Germany, supported with funds from the Global Health Protection Programme of the German Ministry of Health, using mobile planning and data capturing technology.
“The innovation of oral vaccination will enable us to reach most, if not all dogs, especially the stray dogs and dogs that are difficult to handle. This new methodology, if fully introduced, will not replace our initial National Dog Rabies Control Programme, but will complement the parenteral vaccination for wider dog population reach,” Shilongo concluded.