Created and coordinated annually by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), World Rabies Day on September 28 focuses on rabies endemic countries, to increase community awareness of the disease and its prevention. World Rabies Day also raises the profile of national and local control programmes and acts as a springboard for year-round capacity building and awareness.
At the global conference on rabies elimination in 2015, a common goal of zero human deaths from canine rabies by 2030 was agreed by the World Health Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and GARC. In support of this goal, the 2017 World Rabies Day theme is ‘Rabies: Zero by 30’.
The Partners for Rabies Prevention meeting held in August brought together over 40 representatives from 27 organizations to discuss international efforts to support countries as they move forward in their canine rabies elimination efforts. The delegates reflected a diverse range of stakeholders in rabies control, including International organizations, rabies experts, academics, vaccine manufacturers and non-governmental organizations.
What emerged was a strong commitment from organisations at the international level to work together to provide concrete support to countries planning and implementing rabies elimination strategies, in the move towards an end to canine-transmitted human rabies by 2030.
Attendees highlighted several recent international meetings involving rabies experts, and reported that coordinated revisions of both OIE and WHO guidance documents are currently being discussed. The OIE reported that its Rabies Vaccine Bank is now able to handle requests from any member country, and payments can be received through several different mechanisms, allowing for endemic country purchases as well as donations. A vaccine stockpile for human vaccine is being planned by WHO to fulfil a similar need on the human side.
Recent modelling work presented the scope of what reaching zero human rabies deaths globally by 2030 would entail. It provided the canine vaccine forecasting data necessary and an appreciation of the scale of capacity building in terms of human resources that will be necessary to achieve this goal. [Source: Rabies Aliance News Releases, https://rabiesalliance.org/]