Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) - Viet Nam

Rabies: Vaccinate to eliminate

World Rabies Day 2019 in Vietnam


Ba Ria City. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ba Ria-VungTau People’s Committee, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO) and other One Health partners advocate for rabies vaccination to stop rabies in both animals and human.


Rabies is one of the oldest and most terrifying diseases known to human, it is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. Today, it is a common infectious disease in more than 150 countries (i). Even though this disease can be prevented through vaccine, an estimated 59,000 people each year still die because of rabies especially in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities (ii).  Up to 40% of the victims are children younger than 15 years living in Asia and Africa.


According to the National Program on the Control and Elimination of Rabies, National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), 54 people died from rabies in 24 provinces in Viet Nam in 2019 compared to 64 people in 20 provinces last year. Although there are fewer deaths, the disease has spread to four more provinces.


“Rabies cases are reported from provinces which previously had no case. Dog management and vaccination is the most important action to stop rabies transmission between dogs, and from dogs to humans. A person bitten by a dog needs to get immediate and complete vaccine against rabies. Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to save lives from rabies,” jointly stated by Dr Tran Dac Phu, Director General of the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM), and Dr Pham Van Dong, Director General of the Department of Animal Health (DAH).


Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam, emphasized that targeting high-risk areas in the country is critical to achieving Zero by 30, as he highlighted that “Strengthening political commitment; increasing risk awareness; promoting dog vaccination and dog management; ensuring public trust on, accessibility, availability and affordability on anti-rabies vaccination for humans; and improving financial and human resources are our weapons in the fight against rabies.” He further reiterated the key role played by the strong coordination between the animal and human health sectors in ensuring that rabies prevention programmes are efficiently and effectively managed in contribution to the global goal to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.


“We would like to call for local, national and international partners to join our efforts to increase rabies vaccination coverage and bring an end to human deaths from rabies in Viet Nam. It is estimated that if we can eliminate human rabies from this world, we would be able to save thousands of lives, and US$8.6 billion in economic resources each year can be freed up to spend on other development goals ,” (iii) Dr Albert T Lieberg, FAO Representative for Viet Nam added.


In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development continue to implement the National Program on the Control and Elimination of Rabies, which was approved by the Prime Minister in February 2017, and the Order 31/ CT-TTg dated July 6, 2017 of the Prime Minister on Strengthening Urgent Measures to Prevent Rabies. The two ministries, in collaboration with One Health partners, have jointly carried out activities to strengthen the commitment of all levels of government in the prevention and control rabies; to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration, including health, agriculture, education and mass organizations; and to enhance communication activities to achieve the goal of improving dog management and vaccination, ensuring that people bitten by dogs are immediately vaccinated, and reducing the number of rabies deaths towards the elimination of rabies in Viet Nam by 2030.


This year marks the 13th annual observance of the World Rabies Day since the governments across the world collectively responded to the issue, bringing together relevant sectors, and engaging local, national stakeholders and the global community in the fight against rabies.

For more information, please contact: Ms Nguyen Thuy Hang, One Health Advocacy and Communications Coordinator. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Viet Nam. Tel: 84-24- 38501829 Email: [email protected]