Sierra Leone and Ghana commmit to dog population management

18/10/2017

We joined Ghana and Sierra Leone during World Rabies week 2017 as they launched their National Rabies Strategies.

This is a new dawn that will seek to ensure proper dog population management to prevent the spread of rabies in the two countries.

Leading the cause

Ghana and Sierra Leone mark the first West African countries to come up with documents that outline their commitment and plans to mitigate the spread of rabies.

In 2016 only, Sierra Leone lost 27 people from the disease, a majority of who were school going children.

Lack of awareness

Most community members are oblivious of tips to a healthy dog due to lack of awareness. In partnership with local schools in the two countries, we are training teachers on dog care best practices to share the knowledge back to their students.

Children have the power to influence their families and the community at large to adopt responsible dog ownership.

The launching of the strategies was supported by the National governments, UN – Food Agriculture Organization and other stakeholders in the fight against rabies.

Journey to dog welfare

While this is only the beginning, they hope to carry on with the same momentum to ensure dogs are well taken care of, translating to a drop-in rabies cases.

Alongside the launches, we held mass dog vaccination exercises in the communities in collaboration with partners, covering over 1500 dogs. This gave the opportunity for dog owners to seek counsel on how well to care of their dogs to prevent diseases.

Media as a tool for change

In addition, the media documented stories and held media interviews with Tennyson Williams – Africa director, Emily Mudoga – Campaign Manager, Animals in Communities – World Animal Protection and our partners to further create awareness to the public on our work.

Living in harmony with dogs

Dogs are part of our economic systems, our families and in our livelihoods. Africa’s human population is expanding and doubling and so will the dog population that lives side by side with us. It is therefore becoming critical for countries to adopt strategies to avoid the spread of rabies.

We find the most effective ways to protect animals in communities – and then we act. So we help governments to manage dog populations humanely and to vaccinate against rabies, instead of culling dogs.