As you approach the Matasia area in Kajiado North, you are met by several dogs, the majority of these being owned free-roaming and community dogs, with only a smaller number confined in compounds by residents. Kajiado North is home to a wide variety of dogs. From the friendly neighbourhood mutts to the more exotic breeds, there's a dog for everyone in Kajiado North.
The number of free-roaming dogs in the constituency has however been on the rise in recent years, due to a lack of awareness about responsible pet ownership. This has led to an increase in the number of dog bites and other incidents involving these animals. The problem of free-roaming dogs has also been exacerbated by the fact that some have no centralized shelter point. As a result, they are often left to fend for themselves on the streets. Due to the high number of free-roaming dogs, the sub-county has a relatively high number of dog bite cases, posing serious rabies risks for both the dogs and the locals who live near them.
There have been several initiatives launched in recent years to address the issue of rabies in Kajiado county. One such initiative is the pilot vaccination program against rabies by Kajiado County Government in partnership with Action for Protection of Animals Africa (APAA). The Kajiado County Government has embarked on a mass vaccination exercise to ensure all dogs in the area are vaccinated. This is in line with the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines on rabies prevention.
The Kajiado County government has set up several clinics in response to an outbreak of rabies that had begun a few weeks ago. So far, there have been no reported cases of rabies in humans, but there have been several cases in dogs. By vaccinating 70% of the dog population in the area, it is possible to minimize the incidences of rabies outbreaks
Says Dr. Kavosa Mudoga, Director – of APAA
Some residents in the area have been calling for a culling of the dog population to minimize the risk of rabies while others believe that this is inhumane and that the problem can be solved through mass dog vaccination, better education, and awareness. One such resident is Sammy Mbogo, an owner of 9 dogs, 3 puppies, and 6 kittens. The first thing you'll notice as you near Sammy Mbogo's home is the sound of barking dogs. Mbogo takes great care of his dogs, making sure they are up to date with their vaccinations, which is at times costly. Thanks to the Kajiado County Government initiative with APAA, Mbogo is able to keep his dogs healthy and happy. He knows that vaccinating his dogs not only keeps them safe from disease but also helps protect other animals they may come into contact with. Mbogo has also built his dogs a special doghouse to keep them warm and dry when it rains. His dogs are clearly part of the family and even talks to them like they're people! - and he loves them dearly. Mbogo is proud to be a responsible dog owner and urges others to do the same.
Children are known to have a great deal of compassion for animals, especially pets. They will go out of their way to make sure their dog is comfortable and well taken care of. Murray Mwangi, a 10-year-old boy in Grade 5 was one of the many people who were lined up outside the clinic to have their dogs and cats vaccinated. “I am worried about the recent outbreak of rabies in my sub-county and want to make sure Jim my dog is protected. I am excited to get him vaccinated so he can stay healthy. The vet was very friendly and made sure to explain everything to me before starting the vaccination process.” Said Murray. Murray felt confident and happy to see his dog receive the vaccinations and is now making sure his dog is always up to date on his vaccinations.
APAA urges all Kajiado North Sub-county residents to take advantage of the ongoing mass dog vaccinations. The vaccinations are free of charge and offered at various locations throughout the county. Mass vaccination of dogs is the most effective way to control rabies. It is important to find out the nearest vaccination point and take your dog along for their jab. Vaccinating your dog not only protects them, but it also protects you and your family from contracting rabies. Let’s work together to stamp out rabies in Kajiado county!