Veterinary experts in the country say Malawi is failing to control rabies due to lack of clear direction from government on how to control the disease.
Chairperson of the Malawi Veterinary Association, Kholiwe Mkandawire, said in an interview on Wednesday as the world commemorated World Rabies Day which passed silently in Malawi.
Mkandawire said rabies is a serious disease which has to be dealt with with the sense of urgency it deserves.
“Government has to put the disease among its priorities. Other countries forgot of rabies in humans because they dealt with it by adequately vaccinating dogs. We can also do the same because vaccinating rabies in dogs is much cheaper than in humans,” she said.
Mkandawire said the government should conduct massive dog vaccination campaigns across the country for a minimum of five years if the disease is to be contained and not just leaving it to the private sector.
Mkandawire further said the fact that the disease was not commemorated today speaks volumes of how weak the country is in terms of dealing with the disease.
“Look, in other countries people are meeting to discuss the disease; what they have done and what they should do to deal with the disease but nothing is being done here,” she said.
However, Ben Chimera, Director of Animal Health, said that his department only vaccinated dogs in areas with high prevalence rate of rabies this year due to financial constraints among others.
“We vaccinated 80 percent of dogs in areas where the prevalence rate is high. It could have been a waste of resources to vaccinate dogs in areas where there have been no case of rabies reported in the past 10 years,” he said.
Chimera said Malawi did not commemorate the day because the country already had a vaccination campaign from July to August.
Health experts say rabies has no treatment and kills humans within 10 days of infection.
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