Eliminate rabies through vaccinations

Rabies is preventable through vaccinations and post-exposure immunization. Yet, nearly 70,000 people continue to die from the disease every year throughout the world, mostly in rural areas. This means that one person dies every 15 minutes from the preventable rabies disease, mostly in Asia and Africa.
Myanmar also shares the burden of rabies infections. Myanmar sees about 200 deaths from rabies annually. About 40 per cent of these victims are children under 15 who have been bitten by a suspect rabid dog and it was found they were bitten while playing near the dog.
Myanmar is committed to the eradication of rabies in the country.
Cats are just as likely as dogs to have rabies. Therefore, they must be vaccinated, as well. It’s a safe bet to vaccinate both cats and dogs once a year, starting from three months old. The main problem, however, are stray dogs. If we look at the states and regions, the rabies problem mainly occurs in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions where there are many stray dogs.
This concern is intended to raise public awareness, and we need to increase our actions. All departments in every township should cooperate in protecting stray dogs by spaying or neutering them, as well as vaccinating them for rabies under a set guideline.
If we can vaccinate at least 70 per cent of stray dogs, then it will greatly reduce the risk of them contracting rabies. We need to start working to eradicate rabies now. We must conduct research, connect with relevant organizations, set guidelines and make financial plans, which include protecting humans and dogs by providing vaccinations and safeguarding them.
In cooperation with the World Organization for Animal Health, the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department drafted the national-level rabies control strategy, and it was approved in August last year. Starting from 2019, a project to vaccinate about one million dogs is being carried out in Yangon Region and Nay Pyi Taw, joining with Four Paws International. Also, a similar program will be extended to high risk areas in Mandalay Region, Bago Region and Rakhine State.
We are confident that the goal of eradication of rabies by 2030 would be reached due to cooperation between ministries, Hluttaw, farmers, non-governmental organizations and the people.

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