Vaccinating 80% of dog population is critical to eliminating rabies by 2026: veterinarians I Sri Lanka Latest News

VacaVaccinating 80% of the dog population is critical to meeting the National Strategic Plan’s goal of eliminating Dog-mediated Human Rabies by 2026, according to Dr. Chamith Nanayakkara, advisor to the board of the Association of Veterinarians for Humane Management of Animal Population.

Speaking to the media, he expressed concern about whether the rabies vaccine is being distributed to achieve maximum coverage across the dog population while utilising all available resources under the supervision of each District Health Secretary.

Despite using the maximum number of vaccinators and available resources, the Health Ministry was unable to meet the established target. Despite its best efforts, the Health Ministry has fallen short of achieving the rabies eradication target with available vaccines and resources. With a nationwide dog population of nearly 2.5 million, the government must provide rabies vaccines to at least 1.8 million dogs by 2026 to meet the established target.

“Hence, the Health Ministry has the option to seek support from the doctors affiliated with the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) to enhance the distribution of vaccines for dogs. Surprisingly, the Health Ministry has not yet made any formal request to the DAPH for assistance,” Dr. Nanayakkara said.

“It is imperative to prevent the dog population from exceeding 80%, as surpassing this threshold would jeopardize the success of the rabies eradication process. Consequently, maintaining ongoing dog sterilization operations is crucial. However, the current state of these operations is unsatisfactory, rendering them ineffective and potentially futile,” he said.

“The dog sterilization operations ought to be carried out at district level. Currently, many of these operations are orchestrated by animal welfare associations across the country, covering expansive areas that may be beyond the reach of the Health Ministry. 

“Unfortunately, to date, the government has not initiated any discussions with these associations, which represents a missed opportunity for collaboration,” the doctor said.

Despite using the maximum number of vaccinators and available resources, the Health Ministry was unable to meet the established target. Despite its best efforts, the Health Ministry has fallen short of achieving the rabies eradication target with available vaccines and resources. With a nationwide dog population of nearly 2.5 million, the government must provide rabies vaccines to at least 1.8 million dogs by 2026 to meet the established target.

Source: Daily Mirror

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