According to the National Program on the Control and Elimination of Rabies, National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), 54 people died from rabies in 24 provinces in Vietnam in 2019 compared to 67 people in 24 provinces last year.
Although there are fewer deaths, the disease has spread to four more provinces.
“Rabies cases are reported from provinces which previously had no case. Dog management and vaccination is the most important action to stop rabies transmission between dogs, and from dogs to humans. A person bitten by a dog needs to get immediate and complete vaccine against rabies. Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to save lives from rabies,” jointly stated by Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Director General of the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM), and Dr. Pham Van Dong, Director General of the Department of Animal Health (DAH).
Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, emphasized that targeting high-risk areas in the country is critical to achieving Zero by 30, as he highlighted that “Strengthening political commitment; increasing risk awareness; promoting dog vaccination and dog management; ensuring public trust on, accessibility, availability and affordability on anti-rabies vaccination for humans; and improving financial and human resources are our weapons in the fight against rabies.”
In Vietnam, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development continue to implement the National Program on the Control and Elimination of Rabies, which was approved by the Prime Minister in February 2017, and the Order 31/ CT-TTg dated July 6, 2017 of the Prime Minister on Strengthening Urgent Measures to Prevent Rabies.
The two ministries, in collaboration with One Health partners, have jointly carried out activities to strengthen the commitment of all levels of government in the prevention and control rabies; to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration, including health, agriculture, education and mass organizations.
Moreover, the activities have enhanced communication activities to achieve the goal of improving dog management and vaccination, ensuring that people bitten by dogs are immediately vaccinated, and reducing the number of rabies deaths towards the elimination of rabies in Vietnam by 2030.
This year marks the 13th annual observance of the World Rabies Day since the governments across the world collectively responded to the issue, bringing together relevant sectors, and engaging local, national stakeholders and the global community in the fight against rabies.