Malawi: Animal Rights Body Creates Action Group to Ease Rabies Cases

Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA) has created action groups to conduct free rabies vaccination in the city to curb prevalence of rabies cases and speculations.

A dog gets a rabies vaccination .-photo by Daniel Namwini, Mana LSPCA rabies programmes manager Edson Chiweta

Membership of the groups include city council representatives, chiefs and health surveillance assistants.

LSPCA rabies programmes manager Edson Chiweta recently said that they are working with the action groups to identify and trace rabies cases in the district.

"When a dog is showing strange behaviour, or suspected of rabies, we take it for rabies testing at Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) at our offices," he said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that after four to seven years of mass rabies vaccinations, continuous rabies vaccination should follow.

Chiweta, therefore, highlighted that through the recommendation, LSPCA has started door-to-door continuous rabies vaccinations in the nine rabies hotspots in Areas 22, 23, 24, 25 and 36, among others.

"We are targeting dogs that don't show up during our mass rabies vaccination exercise, because it is likely that these dogs carry rabies as they don't get vaccinated," he added.

LSPCA also offers free spay and neuter (sterilisation) services of pets (cats and dogs) to keep their population in check, to avoid free roaming and stray dogs, according to Chiweta.

Area 25, resident Dorothy Ntupanyama , who had her dogs vaccinated, commended LSPCA for also conducting rabies education in primary and secondary schools.

LSPCA is the only organisation in Africa to reach the last mile in combating rabies.

According to statistics, 500 people annually die of rabies in Malawi.

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