Liberia: MoA, Partners Commemorate World Rabies Day
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), through the Veterinary Services Department and its partners, on the 28th of September 2022, commemorated World Rabies Day (WRD) to raise awareness about the deadly rabies disease in order to prevent or control its effects in the country.
Rabies is a viral disease which is spread by the saliva of infected animals, mainly domesticated ones such as dogs or cats.
World Rabies Day (WRD) provides an opportunity for people to reflect on the impact of the disease on the communities to eradicate it.
Leelia Andrews, Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, said since the launch of the national emergency vaccination campaign to fight rabies in Liberia, they have vaccinated a total of 5,359 dogs and cats across most counties.
According to her this constitutes 82 percent of the target for vaccination for the year.
The Deputy Minister for Technical Services delivered the message marking the occasion at the Ministry’s sub office in Gardnersville on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Jeanine Milly Cooper.
The theme of this year's WRD is "One Health, Zero Deaths," which focuses on One Health goal coupled with the reminder to ensure the eradication of rabies by 2030.
Minister Andrews said that Liberia remains committed to the total eradication of rabies and achieving zero cases of dog-medicated in the country.
“We know that vaccinating dogs breaks the rabies transmission cycle slowly until it is completely eradicated. Therefore, vaccinating dogs stops rabies in people, which clearly makes this One Health initiative, "she explained.
She said her ministry and partners commenced the anti- rabies national vaccination in July this year and the exercise is still ongoing.
According to her, there is a plan to establish rabies vaccination centers across most counties in a gradual manner so that they don’t have to wait for the observance of the WRD to get animals vaccinated.
“I am happy to inform you that I have approved the establishment of a permanent rabies vaccination desk at the Central Veterinary Laboratory(CVL) in Fendell and the Animal Quarantine Center in Ganta, where dogs can be taken for vaccination all year round. We shall keep the public updated as we gradually establish more vaccination desks at county level until the country is covered,” she said.
She further disclosed that they have continued to strengthen the laboratory diagnostic capacity of the CVL and it has, in the last 2 years, consistently scored 100 percent in the proficiency testing of rabies that is globally coordinated.
Andrews added that they have also strengthened the epi surveillance system for rabies and other animal diseases through training and facilitation of animal actors within the Animal Diseases Surveillance and Response System.
However, she mentioned that over the last few years, they have observed some lapses in the anti-rabies national strategy, something she noted that they have engaged the services of a consultant to review the strategy.
“This is an intervention that is currently ongoing and would be finalized in the next one month,” she disclosed.
The minister used the occasion to appreciate the support gotten from partners toward the eradication of rabies and other animals’ diseases within the country.
“I sincerely appreciate the support being provided to us by our partners, particularly the FAO and other partners, for their efforts in assisting Liberia toward achieving its goal of eradicating rabies,” she concluded.