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Monday, 26 November 2018 09:28

'Rabies campaigns limited to hotspots'

Written by  Thokozire Mtonga
Kumwenda: We still need more anti rabies vaccine Kumwenda: We still need more anti rabies vaccine Thokozire Mtonga

Mangochi, November 26, 2018: Mangochi District Agriculture Office has limited anti-rabies vaccine for campaigns in three hotspots namely, Monkey Bay, Malombe and Mpilipili due to inadequate resources. 

The District’s Agricultural Development Officer (DADO), Owen Kumwenda told Malawi News agency (Mana) Monday that his office had received anti rabies vaccine enough to administer to 5,000 dogs only and that there still remained a huge gap to reach out to a large population of dogs and cats in the district.

“The Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development has supplied us with the anti rabies vaccine enough for only 5,000 dogs and we have prioritised three hotspots of Monkey Bay, Mpilipili and Masanje-Malombe where dog bites have been highly reported,” he explained.

Kumwenda added that the vaccine would be administered to dogs and cats for free for 30 days since the campaign was officially launched at national level recently and that after the 30 days pets owners would have to pay for the vaccine.

The campaign comes after the department of agriculture in the district sounded an SOS in September,2018 that it had stayed for nearly two years without vaccinating dogs and cats in the district due to lack of resources.

In September, Kumwenda told Mana that the district had registered 1,065 reported dog bites in 14 months, from July 2017 to September 2018 and that the areas that had registered more bites were Malombe-Masanje, Monkey Bay and Mpilipili.

He disclosed then that the district’s dog population was at 55,800 while cat population was at 8,850 bringing the total population of the pets to 64,650.

According to the DADO, it is recommended that at least 80 per cent of pet population should be vaccinated against rabies for the public to be assured of protection against the viral disease.

With the 5,000 vaccine that the district has been supplied with, 59,650 pets will remain unvaccinated, accounting for 92.3 per cent.

“We still need more vaccine to reach out to all corners of the district and I’d like to appeal to civil society organizations working in the district and all development partners to support us with the resources to save lives of many who are at risk of catching rabies,” Kumwenda pointed out.

According to the DADO, rabies treatment for one person costs the country’s public hospitals K25,000 while a patient would pay up to K45,000 for the same at a private hospital.

He added that on the other hand, anti rabies vaccine for one pet, which when rabid could bite up to 10 people before dying of the disease, costs only about K750.00.  

“As a Council and country, we are having almost all our pets vaccinated could save us more money and more lives than treating people with rabies,” Kumwenda stated.

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