You will spend Sh20,000 to treat rabies

HEALTH & SCIENCE |

Veterinary doctors during mass vaccination drive against rabies in Malindi. [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard].

The government has rolled out a mass vaccination drive aimed at eradicating rabies by 2030.

The programme kicked off in Kilifi County where 10,000 vaccines were released to vaccinate domestic animals against rabies as “statistics show one person dies due to rabies on an hourly basis in the world,” said Lawrence Emuhaka, the Chief Administrative Secretary for Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Blue Economy, adding among the few rabies-free few countries included the UK, but majority like Kenya were struggling to eradicate the deadly viral disease.

“It is difficult and expensive to treat rabies than getting your pets vaccinated,” said Emuhaka considering “if you are infected with rabies you spend close to Sh20, 000.”

Bite inflicted by a rabid dog in Tseikuru, Kitui County. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

The animals were also dewormed and jabbed against lamb scale diseases besides dozens of dogs and cats undergoing castration to reduce their mating as there were very many stray pets in Kilifi.

One dog can bite over 20 people and Kilifi County Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries executive Dr Luciana Sanzua, said there were over 2,000 cases of rabies transmitted to humans annually for which the county blows “Sh15 million to treat rabies and this negatively reflects on the financial well being of the families of the victims.”

The Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) provided 10,000 vaccines with 8,000 coming from the government and 2000 from the Kilifi County which has allocated  a paltry Sh3 million for vaccinating  2,000 animals, a small number considering the county has “more than 600,000 goats, 260,000 cattle and unknown number of pets,” said Dr Sanzua adding that animal health was equivalent to human health as eating an unhealthy animal affects people’s health.

Besides rabies, coastal regions are also affected by tsetse fly “which is one of the major causes of poverty in this area,” according to Kenya Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Council (KENTTEC) CEO, Dr Pamela Olet.

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