Uganda observed World Rabies Day alongside other nations to raise awareness about this viral disease, primarily transmitted through animal bites. Despite being preventable, rabies continues to have a significant impact on both finances and lives.
In Gomba, school children took center stage during the Rabies Day event, conveying messages about the dangers of rabies. Ivan Kizito, LC5 Chairperson of Gomba District, welcomed officials to the celebration and commended the Ministry’s efforts to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies, urging more people to participate in this initiative.
Annually, Uganda records approximately 13,009 suspected rabies cases in humans through the Ministry of Health’s Health Management System, with an incident rate of 42.4 to 56.7 per 100,000 people. Additionally, over 975 suspected cases in animals are reported annually through passive surveillance at the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre. On average, 32 people and 130 animals succumb to rabies each year.
Uganda allocates over 7 billion Uganda shillings annually for human anti-rabies treatment and more than 1 billion shillings for animal rabies vaccines.
Dr. Flavia Nakanjako, Senior Veterinary Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), emphasized the government’s support for rabies eradication in Uganda through the rabies elimination strategy. This strategy is guided by five key pillars: mass vaccination of animals and at-risk humans, vaccination of at-risk veterinary and public health professionals, awareness creation, enhanced rabies surveillance, and advocacy for resource commitment.
Dr. Resty Baliyana, District Veterinary Officer for Gomba District, urged pet owners to keep their animals within their premises to prevent rabies transmission.
National celebrations were held in Gomba, attended by Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) officials. However, various districts across the country also conducted separate activities.
UVA has collaborated with MAAIF and other stakeholders to commemorate World Rabies Day in different districts in previous years. Dr. Daniel Kasibule, UVA President, praised the joint efforts of veterinarians and medical personnel in raising awareness and preventing rabies.
Dr. Levi Cheptoyek and the Kapchorwa veterinary team vaccinated 397 pets, performed 17 surgeries, and conducted awareness activities, including visiting a primary school and participating in a radio talk show at Elgon Radio station.
Teams in Northern Uganda vaccinated 862 pets in Pabbo, Amuru District.
Dr. Nabadda Sitenda Madrine, Vice President of the Uganda Veterinary Association, expressed gratitude to everyone contributing to rabies prevention and control efforts, emphasizing the goal of ending rabies by 2030.