Liberians and health partners on September 28 celebrated the International Day of Rabies at two separate venues, including New Kru Town and Unification City in Montserrado and Margibi counties, respectively.
Activities of the day included the vaccination of dogs, which started in Unification City (Smell-No-Taste), Margibi County at 9:30 a.m. During the daylong vaccination exercise, owners of dogs and other residents were a bit reluctant to carry domestic animals for the exercise, but after intensive door to door awareness messages with various owners of dogs, the team of health workers vaccinated 205 dogs out of the targeted 500 at the Unification City vaccination center.
The 205 dogs (male and female) were vaccinated by a team of health workers comprising of an animal doctor and health workers from the Ministry of Health and personnel from the Humane Society International (HSI), which focuses on rescuing and protecting wild chimpanzees in the country.
However, residents who earlier spoke to the Daily Observer, described the exercise as motivating to keep their dogs free from rabies.
HSI Technical Advisor, Dr. Richard Ssuna, said that plans are afoot to vaccinate dogs in some of the densely populated communities across the country.
“We are hoping that by next year we will roll out the exercise in several other communities,” Dr. Ssuna said.
According to him, one of the vulnerable groups to come down with rabies is children; therefore, he underscored the need for health-related institutions to consider vaccination of dogs in the various communities. Dr. Ssuna, a Ugandan veterinarian, described dogs, specifically the domestic ones, as the closest mammals to children.
He called on Liberians and health intervention partners to consider Montserrado County as a prime target area for vaccination against rabies, owing to its population.
Domestic dogs, he said, are being targeted due to the fact that those mammals can often be found with the population, especially around children, in many parts of the world.
Dr. Ssuna assured the population that rabies can be prevented and can also be easily treated.