FAO in Laos

End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate for World Rabies Day 2020

“End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate” as FAO joins WHO to offer free doses of vaccine to pets in Vientiane to mark World Rabies Day 2020 in Lao PDR.

28/09/2020FAO joined WHO to offer free doses of vaccine to pets in Vientiane to mark World Rabies Day 2020. The contribution comes as Laos moves to reach zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030. “End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate” was the message as Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) in Laos to The Lao PDR joined the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Health to mark World Rabies Day at Chao Fa Ngum Park in Vientiane Capital on September 28,2020.  Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang said that  World Rabies Day raises awareness about the impact of the deadly virus on humans and animals, providing information and advice on how to prevent the disease in at-risk communities, and supports advocacy for increased efforts in rabies control. The government, in cooperation with development partners, is providing 30,000 free doses of rabies vaccine across the country to increase vaccination rates among pets in 2020. Rabies is a fatal and painful animal-to-human disease. It cannot be cured but can be prevented, predominately by vaccinating pets. At least 80 percent of dogs and cats should receive the vaccine to ensure its effectiveness in any locality. The Lao government adopted the ASEAN Rabies Elimination Strategy in 2010 and was now implementing a national prevention and control plan for 2020-2024. This covers human and animal health aiming to achieve the WHO’s goal of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030, Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Phouthone Meuangpak said. In supporting rabies prevention efforts, FAO Representative in Lao PDR, Mr Nasar Hayat said over several years, the FAO had assisted member countries including Laos in the design and implementation of rabies control programmes, in addition to developing and distributing educational materials, promoting World Rabies Day and fostering operational research. Other support included strengthening disease surveillance and control systems and encouraging collaboration among the sectors of animal health, public health and wildlife, along with municipalities and local communities under the One Health approach. WHO Representative in Lao PDR Dr Mark Jacobs said the organization was confident the Lao government could achieve zero rabies deaths from dog bites by 2030 which is a goal the WHO has committed to, along with international partners and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Some 99 percent of all human cases of rabies are linked to dog bites. So, if rabies deaths due to dog bites could be eliminated, this would go very near to stopping all rabies deaths, Dr Jacobs said. World Rabies Day takes place annually on September 28. The date also marks the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur who, with the collaboration of his colleagues, developed the first efficacious rabies vaccine. For more information please contact FAO in the Lao PDR, International Communications Specialist Steven Cleary (Mr) 020 5660 7279 (Whatsapp)