What is 'Zero by 30'?
The 'Zero by 30' global goal was set in 2015 with the aim of ending human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030. Around the world, rabies kills more than 59,000 people every year. Rabies is a deadly virus that's predominantly transmitted through dog bites.
The good news is that rabies can be easily prevented through the vaccination of dogs, post-bite treatment for people and overall increased awareness.
Kajiado county is home to a variety of pastoral animals such as cows, sheep and goats. The county is also home to wildlife with a number of national parks such as Amboseli and Nairobi bordering it. Due to this and the growing population of wild dogs, there have been increased reports of rabid dogs attacking livestock and humans.
According to a survey conducted in 2018, Kajiado County has an estimated 2,371,907 shoats and 698,226 cattle. The number of dogs isn't documented but it's worth noting that most households also own herd dogs that aid in companionship, security, hunting and protection from wildlife. These herd dogs are known to be highly neglected by the community.
Lack of knowledge of the rabies disease is a catalyst in its spread
Most household dogs aren't vaccinated against rabies - this is due to the lack of knowledge in the community of the disease and its possible effects on unvaccinated dogs.
“The lack of community awareness and attitudes against rabies control is a major issue that thwarts efforts towards rabies elimination by 2030.” — Dr. Emily Mudoga, Director, APAA
Some community members have admitted that they haven't vaccinated their dogs due to unawareness and unavailability of the vaccine. Titus Lenkai, a Kajiado community member, confessed that he was among those who hadn't vaccinated his dogs against rabies, something that led to negative implications on both his dogs and the community.
Lenkai was once left mourning his furry friends when his dogs were killed because of the fear that they'd spread rabies in the community. In another incident, one of his dogs bit a student on their way to school forcing him to cater for the child’s hospital bills. This left him with financial constraints as he spent a lot of money trying to save the child’s life. He attributes these occurrences to a lack of awareness of rabies control and the unavailability of the vaccine.
APAA’s efforts in combating rabies
It's within this backdrop of lack of community awareness on rabies that Action for Protection of Animals Africa (APAA) partnered with the Kajiado County Veterinary department in order to initiate control of rabies and coenurosis disease spread.
Between October and November 2021, APAA in collaboration with the County Government of Kajiado conducted rabies vaccinations and a dog deworming exercise in order to control the spread of the deadly zoonosis.
The deworming and vaccination drive was conducted under the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture project sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation of Kajiado county.
A total of 1,835 dogs were vaccinated against rabies while 4,000 were dewormed. 980 household dogs also benefited from this collaboration through the private clinics in Kajiado county.
Action for Protection of Animals Africa (APAA) aims to secure animal welfare in order to safeguard animal lives as well as livelihoods.