Efforts to tackle rabies may get a boost in Yangon


YANGON City Development Committee hopes to roll out a rabies control and prevention programme in the city later this year with the help of foreign experts, a YCDC official announced on Monday.
The wife of US Ambassador Mr Derek Mitchell, Ms Min Lee, and her friends will provide funds for the project if authorities give the green light, said Dr Hla May Oo, assistant head of YCDC’s Veterinary and Slaughter Houses Department. The project covers surgical sterilisation and vaccination programmes as well as public awareness campaigns about rabies and dog bite prevention.
“The three-year project would begin in Sanchaung and Mingala Taungnyunt townships, where there are large populations of stray dog populations. It would continue until 2018,” she said at a seminar celebrating World Rabies Day, which fell on 28 September.
YCDC has submitted a proposal to the Union Attorney-General’s Office for the programme, whose main aim is to reduce the rate of human deaths caused by rabies, to control the number of stray dogs on Yangon’s streets and ultimately, to create a rabies-free city.
Under the project, the recognised experts in the field of rabies control will conduct a survey to obtain information about rabies and dog population management in the commercial capital.
According to a survey carried out by YCDC in 2014, there are approximately 70,000 stray dogs in Yangon.  Between January and March this year, more than 500 dog bite victims received free rabies treatment at Insein General Hospital in Yangon, said Dr Tint Tint Kyi, a Senior Consultant Physician at the hospital.
According to the World Health Organisation, a person dies every 15 minutes from rabies disease around the world, and 40 percent of victims are children under the age of 15.
YCDC previously used poison-laced meat in an attempt to lower the numbers of stray dogs in 33 Yangon townships. However due to repeated public outcries, the practice came to end in 2014 and was replaced with a vaccination and birth control programme.

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