29 Sep 2013 03:40
OMAANDI, 29 SEP (NAMPA) - Omusati Regional Governor Sophia Shaningwa says rabies is still a significant health problem in many countries, including in Namibia.
Shaningwa said this in a statement presented on her behalf by her special advisor, Reverend Fillipus Kashima at the commemoration of World Rabies Day at Omaandi village in the Omusati Region on Friday.
The village is situated near the Ogongo settlement.
Shaningwa said around 99 per cent of all human deaths caused by infected dogs usually occur in Africa and Asia, especially in regions with large numbers of unvaccinated domesticated dogs.
In Namibia, 526 cases of rabies were between September 2012 and August 2013, a figure which includes warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds).
The Ministry of Health and Social Services also reported that 18 Namibians lost their lives to rabies in the country last year.
For the period January to July 2013, 181 cases of rabies were reported in domestic and wild animals throughout Namibia, Shaningwa pointed out.
The governor emphasised that the Omusati Region has a high number of unvaccinated pets and, as such, she called on all owners of pets to adhere to the Directorate of Veterinary Services request for them to take their pets to vaccination points throughout the region.
She said she believes that Government has done its part by availing rabies vaccines through the directorate free of charge for all pet owners.
A second vaccination campaign for pets was launched in the Omusati Region on 16 September this year after it was realised that the owners of only 9 553 out of the 23 204 pets in the region had their pets vaccinated during the first campaign in April.
This figure represents a mere 41 per cent, a non-significant value in population protection, the governor noted.
World Rabies Day is observed on 28 September every year, but the community of the Omusati Region observed it on Friday as 28 September this year fell on a Saturday.
Namibia first observed the day in the Khomas Region in September 2011. Last years event took place at in the Oniipa Constituency in the Oshikoto Region.
The day aims to raise awareness of the impact of rabies on human and animal health, providing information and advice on how to prevent the disease and on how individuals and organisations can help eliminate its source.
Rabies is a viral disease which causes acute encephalitis (brain inflammation) in warm-blooded animals and it is transmitted from one species to another.