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Working Together Towards Indonesia Rabies-free

Balinese girls held their dogs with red ribbon in their neck as sign for vaccinated dogs (c) FAO Indonesia
29/09/2017

Rabies, commonly known as rabid-dog disease, is still a serious threat worldwide with 55,000 deaths per year, more than 50% are in Asia. Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) states that currently 24  provinces in Indonesia are still Rabies endemic while the rest are Rabies free. 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has conducted a Rabies prevention and control Program in Indonesia since 2011. The activities were focused on three islands namely Bali, Flores and Lambata in two (2) Provinces. “Our cooperation has resulted in a quite good achievement where 87% of animal cases (from 529 to 65 cases) and 100% of human cases (from 15 cases to 0 cases) decreased in Bali from 2015 to July 2017,” states Elly Sawitri, Senior National Veterinary Adviser of FAO - Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD).

Mass Vaccinations for Dogs

To raise awareness in the society on the dangers of Rabies, as well as to commemorate World’s Rabies Day on September 28, FAO ECTAD along with MoA and other related institutions (Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the Government of Province of West Java, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FKH), Bogor Agriculture Institute (FKH-IPB) and AIPEID) organize several activities in Bogor and Sukabumi, West Java.

With the global theme of Rabies: Zero by 2030, a series of activities will start by providing technical vaccination training and Communication, Information and Education (KIE) of Rabies training for Students of FKH-IPB on October 1, 2017. The activity is then followed by Seminar on Rabies on October 6, 2017 in Bogor as well as One Health’s Veterinary Camp on October 6-8, 2017. At the end of the activities, there will be ceremonial followed by mass vaccination in four (4) out of seven (7) infected sub-districts in the District of Sukabumi, namely Cisolok, Central Jampang, Cikembar, and Nyalindung.

The other activities related to KIE of Rabies disease will be held with the target of PKK / Posyandu Groups, School Students and Indonesian Scout Movement (Pramuka) members, as well as the general public. It is because around 40% of victims bitten by dogs transmitting Rabies around the world are children under the age of 15 years.

Sukabumi was chosen as the location to celebrate the peak of 2017 World’s Rabies Day, because of the region is one of the Rabies hotspots in West Java that can threaten the surrounding area. Moreover, Sukabumi is also known as a supplier of hunting dogs for areas on the island of Sumatra. West Java, together with Banten are two Provinces in Java Island that part of endemic areas of Rabies.

With the series of activities on World’s Rabies Day, Elly hopes the government’s target to have Indonesia free from Rabies in the year 2020 may be achieved through the cooperation of all parties with ‘One Health’ approach and the increase of public awareness.