Celebration of World Rabies Day 2021: Egypt presents strategic framework for the elimination of rabies by 2030

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World Rabies Day was celebrated in the presence of a large number of actors involved in the fight against this disease in Egypt. The Strategic Framework for the Elimination of Dog-Transmitted Human Rabies in Egypt was developed in cooperation between the Ministry of Health (MOPH), the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MoALR) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) with the support of the World Health Organization. the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This national strategic framework aims for zero human deaths due to rabies in dogs by 2030, a goal consistent with the global action plan defined in 2015 by the WHO, OIE, FAO and GARC. Egypt’s strategic framework consists of seven pillars and requires the most significant efforts of all actors in a multisectoral partnership in order to achieve its goal. The pillars include:

  • Establish and improve a multisectoral approach to rabies at the national level;
  • Elimination of rabies in animals through dog population management, mass vaccination of dogs and promotion of responsible pet ownership;
  • Prevention of rabies in humans by ensuring appropriate management of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and raising awareness of the appropriate monument to rabies and animal bites;
  • Strengthen surveillance systems in humans and animals;
  • Advocacy, communication and social support to raise awareness and educate the community on the treatment of animals;
  • Mobilize the necessary resources;
  • Promote operational research.

In Egypt, the control of human rabies and animal bites are both included in the national MOHP surveillance system. Despite the blatant underreporting, the average number of clinically reported human rabies cases is around 50 cases per year, with most cases reported in children aged 5 to 14 and mainly in rural areas. Of the reported cases, 70% did not receive PEP for rabies.

“The prevention sector, through the General Directorate for the Fight against Infectious Diseases, aims to improve prevention services in the field of surveillance and control of common diseases in general, and rabies in particular. While work is underway to develop prevention services if necessary, after being stung or scratched by animals at more than 300 centers spread across Egypt ”, said Dr Alaa Eid, head of the sector. of preventive medicine at the Ministry of Health and Population.

“A plan has been launched to automate animal bite and scratch treatment centers, as these centers are the backbone of the fight against rabies. The mechanization of these services goes hand in hand with the general trend of Egypt in the digital transformation plan, and on the other hand contributes to facilitate the service rendered to the citizen, as well as to improve the quality of data and information, which helps to take the necessary and correct procedures and decisions at the right time, ”he adds.

The MoHP and MoALR are working with other ministries, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Local Development and the Ministry of Education, to coordinate efforts to prevent and control animal and human rabies in Egypt. .

“Until recently, the global rabies response was characterized by fragmentation and lack of coordination,” said Dr Naima El Kassir, WHO Representative in Egypt and Head of Mission. “Now for the first time the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organization for Animal Health and the Global Rabies Alliance are joining forces as part of the One Health approach to help countries step up action to eliminate dog-transmitted rabies by 2030.

“The General Organization of Veterinary Services (GOVS) of MoALR, in cooperation with the MOHP, is committed to implementing the strategic plan to achieve the global initiative to eliminate rabies by 2030. The strategic plan will involve all sectors and I call on our partners to support its implementation so that rabies transmitted by dogs is a thing of the past in our country ”, said Dr Abdulhakim Ali, president of GOVS

Regarding animal bite incidents, the total number of reported animal bite cases was 482,040 in 2018, up from 431,917 in 2017 and 355,373 in 2016. It appears that this trend is increasing The number of reported animal bite incidents continues with 574,149 cases reported in 2019 indicating a 20% increase over the previous year. It has also been observed that over 70% of cases of animal bites were attributable to stray dogs.

“FAO considers rabies to be one of the priority zoonotic diseases affecting poor communities and, as such, it affirms its commitment to support the implementation of the national rabies elimination strategy. Recently, FAO supported the process of developing a descriptive rabies risk map to guide control interventions in identified high risk areas ”, said Zelalem Tadesse, FAO-ECTAD team leader in Egypt. In collaboration with GOVS and other partners, FAO also plans to pilot rabies control in an identified locality and generate proof of concept (PoC) for the progressive elimination of rabies through the OH approach. .

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which can be transmitted to humans through the bites or scratches of animals, mainly dogs. Globally, the estimated number of deaths from human rabies is 65,000 cases per year. The disease is still common in different countries with rabid dogs responsible for 99% of human rabies.

Rabies is 100% preventable by vaccinating people. Each year, around 29 million people receive post-exposure rabies prophylaxis (RPEP) worldwide. Rabies PEP costs US $ 40-50 per person, which is too expensive for families living on average between US $ 1 and US $ 2 per person / day. Vaccines are not only available for humans, but also for animals, being an essential part of the prevention of rabies.

World Rabies Day (WDD) is celebrated annually on September 28 to raise awareness of the risk of rabies and mobilize efforts for the eradication of the disease.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


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