Liberia joined the rest of the global community in observance of World Rabies Day under the theme “Rabies: Share the Message, Safe a Life”. The theme highlighted the importance of creating awareness on preventing rabies across the world. Commemoration of the day is intended to also raise profile of national rabies control programs and as a basis for a year-round capacity building and awareness globally, and in line with the global target to eliminate dog rabies by 2030.
The 2018 World Rabies Day was celebrated in Liberia under the One Health Coordination Platform (OHCP). This Platform is an approach based upon the collaborative efforts of professionals from multiple disciplines to attain optimal human and animal health and protection of the ecosystem by strengthening public health preparedness and response, including zoonosis.
The day was commemorated with an indoor program held at the auditorium of the D. Twe High School in New Kru Town and was attended by representatives from Government’s line ministries and agencies, the United Nations in Liberia, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Humane Society International (HSI), PREDICT, Civil Society Organizations, media groups as well as students and faculty of the D. Twe High School.
Speaking at the indoor program, Dr. Francis Kateh, Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer, stressed the need for more awareness in the fight against rabies. Dr. Kateh admonished the communities and media to play a more pivotal role in creating maximum awareness on the prevention of rabies in country.
In her remarks, Madam Mariatou Njie, FAO Country Representative to Liberia, disclosed that the FAO contributed 2,500 doses of the rabies vaccines and the consumables for a campaign. She emphasized that the FAO is committed to playing a major role in the detection, response and prevention of zoonotic diseases threats in Liberia.
Also speaking at the program, Dr. Desmond Williams, US CDC Country Director reaffirmed his institution commitment to the fight against rabies in the country with focus on the One Health approach.
Mrs. Gertrude J. Mulbah, Laboratory Technical Officer, WHO-Liberia, highlighted that the theme of World Rabies Day is to create awareness about the disease, its prevention and control strategies that are being implemented to protect people as well as pets and livestock. She confirmed that, WHO is committed to the ‘zero by 2030 strategic plan’ through the one Health Approach. She then congratulated the Ministry of Health, other government agencies, and health partners for their collaborative efforts and commitments to rabies prevention and control in the country.
As part of the planned activities in commemoration of the World Rabies Day, five vaccination sites were used for the vaccination of dogs with over 200 dogs vaccinated. This event provided an opportunity for owners of dogs and residents of these communities to better understand the importance and benefits of rabies prevention and control in Liberia.