Since its launch last year, the United Against Rabies Forum has now published its first report highlighting its mission to promote and ‘enable effective collaboration by a wide range of partners’ to achieve the goals set out in the global strategic plan to eliminate human rabies deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.
The report highlights how COVID-19 has impacted rabies control activities and emphasizes the need to make One Health a reality because the interdependence of human, animal and environmental health has never been more evident.
A One Health approach is the foundation of most countries’ national rabies control programmes, usually involving multiple ministries and levels of government, and most importantly, engaging communities and civil society. This can also help to strengthen national health systems to address other zoonoses.
The Forum – which comprises World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – the global agencies responsible for human health, animal health and food and agriculture brings together partners across government institutions, human and animal and environmental health sectors, the private sector, civil society as well as research and academia. One of its main aims is to increase understanding the policy and research work that are needed to improve coordination (including of resource mobilization) and information sharing between partners.
FAO, OIE and WHO are committed to operationalization of ‘One Health’, which promotes a policy approach that connects human, animal and environmental health interventions.
In the case of rabies, scientific research and field evidence show that mass dog vaccination campaigns that cover 70 per cent of the at-risk dog population can confer herd immunity against rabies. This is considered the only real way to interrupt the disease’s infectious cycle between animals and humans and sharply reduce human rabies deaths as a result.
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