Rabies is a dangerous disease that kills at least 59,000 people annually worldwide of which most are from Africa and Asia. All mammals can carry rabies but most human rabies cases come from dogs due to the interaction between the too.
Though being dangerous, rabies is 100% preventable through rabies vaccination. This is why the Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA), the Department of Animals Health and Livestock Development, and the Lilongwe City Council with support from Welttierschutz Gesellschaft e.v -Germany are working together to promote rabies free Lilongwe.
Through its community Based Rabies Surveillance approach, LSPCA continuously engages people from various communities identifying dogs to be vaccinated against rabies, the LSPCA respond promptly to dog bite cases and other rabies-related issues, and teach the community about rabies disease.
To strengthen the rabies surveillance operations, a special toll-free mobile phone number 172 has been set up to encourage people in communities to report suspected rabid dogs, free roaming / stray dogs, and most importantly to get guidance when bitten by a dog or when their dog got bitten by another dog.
When bitten by a dog or any other animal, people should: clean the bite wound with soap and running water for at least fifteen minutes, or alternatively with methylated spirit or alcohol, and rush to the hospital to seek medical assistance.
Every dog owner has a responsibility to look after his or her dog to ensure it receives its annual rabies vaccinations. It is a known fact that the most reliable method to combat rabies is through rabies vaccinations. The rabies surveillance programme aims at ensuring that communities vaccinate their dogs annually.
A manageable dog population can also help to prevent further spread of rabies. Stray dogs are very dangerous and likely to spread rabies as they don’t get vaccinated against rabies. Controlling the dog population through spays and neuters can help reduce the number of free-roaming stray dogs thereby likely reduce cases of rabies.