6 July 2018

Sierra Leone: Effort to Eliminate Rabies Intensifies

The National Livestock and Animal Welfare, Rabies control Taskforce in collaboration with World Animal Protection are currently meeting Sierra Leone government Ministers of Health, Agriculture, Education and the Judiciary between 2nd - 6th July to come up with an action plan to implement the National Rabies Elimination Strategy launched in 2017 in Freetown.

The strategy, developed by the taskforce and other civil society partners, focuses on eliminating rabies and the adoption of holistic dog population management in Sierra Leone by 2030. On average, the country has an estimated 250,000 dogs most of which are free roaming.

According to a release from World Animal Protection, the newly elected Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, noted in a meeting that, "One of our key priorities at the Freetown Municipality is to make our city a key tourist destination in Africa given its potential. This will constitute managing the current dog population challenges in collaboration with the National Livestock and Animal Welfare Rabies control taskforce. We'd also like the capacity of key ministries built to efficiently tackle the issue and this is where organizations like World Animal Protection come in. This couldn't have come at a better time."

According to the release, World Animal Protection has been working with the NLAWRCT since 2014 to come up with the National Rabies Elimination Strategy that was successfully completed in 2017.

Globally, the organization finds the most effective ways to protect animals in communities by working with governments to manage dog populations humanely and to vaccinate against rabies, instead of culling dogs.

"We are pleased about our partnership with the taskforce and what we've been able to achieve thus far. It gives us hope that it is indeed possible to eliminate rabies. Our organization works with governments to establish humane sustainable dog population solutions through promoting rabies vaccinations and advocating for education in communities and schools on rabies and responsible dog ownership," Tennyson Williams, Country Director, World Animal Protection Africa.

World Animal Protection is an international animal welfare organization, active in more than 50 countries globally. We move the world to protect animals with a vision of "A world where animals live free from cruelty and suffering" From our global offices we work with local partner organizations, animal welfare organizations, corporates, businesses and governments to help people to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering.

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