On the World Rabies Day, under the theme “Rabies: Share the message, Save a Life”, MOH and MARD advocated for rabies prevention, control and elimination to policy makers, animal and public health professionals, dog owners, and the general public.
“Currently, rabies is reported in many provinces/cities in Vietnam. More efforts and investment are needed to raise public awareness, implement prevention and control measures to reduce human rabies risks, increase number of vaccinated sites for humans, improve access to healthcare services, and increase dog vaccination,” jointly stated by Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Director General of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, and Dr. Pham Van Dong, Director General of the Department of Animal Health.
“While effective animal and human rabies vaccines serve as important tools to prevent human deaths from rabies, awareness is the key driver for the success of community engagement in rabies prevention and control efforts. Rabies prevention, control and elimination require One Health action – effective collaboration between the human and animal health sectors. FAO and WHO will continue to raise awareness and support Vietnam rabies elimination efforts at all levels,” Dr. Kidong Park, WHO representative in Vietnam, and Dr. Pawin Padungtod, Senior Technical Coordinator of Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases, FAO, added.
In 2017, Vietnam launched a national plan for rabies control and elimination for the period 2017 – 2021 and the successor of the National rabies prevention and elimination program from 2011 to 2015.
In the same year, the Government Order No. 31 (dated 6 July 2017), related to the strengthening of measures on rabies prevention and control, was also implemented. Both reflected the country’s strong commitment in addressing rabies prevention, control and elimination.
According to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), there have been 67 rabies-related human deaths in 24 provinces and cities in Vietnam this year – almost similar with the number of cases from the same period in 2017, when 67 people in 29 provinces died of rabies.
Rabies is recorded in more than 150 countries, territories worldwide. It is usually fatal once symptoms develop in both humans and animals. Deaths could be prevented through three key measures: and seeking immediate medical care from an authorized professional after a dog bite, dog population management, and vaccinating dogs.
This year marks the 12th annual observance of the World Rabies Day since the governments across the world collectively responded to the need to address the issue, bringing together relevant sectors, and engaging stakeholders and the global community in the fight against rabies.