Freetown City has recorded the highest density of stray dogs in Africa, thereby posing serious threats to the environment and causing people to be at risk of contacting the rabies disease. Even though human development challenges cannot be addressed without dealing with the problems of lower animals, the international community is been warranted to come onboard to help address the problems posed by animals.
Tennyson Williams is the Africa Regional Director for World Animal Protection. He informed the meeting that 59, 000 people die each year from dogs’ transmitted rabies, adding further that 95% of these occur in Africa, and that Children under 15years are mostly infected. Mr. Williams suggested that if 70% of dogs in each community are vaccinated it can help eradicate rabies. “By 2030 Rabies should be a thing of the past,” he said, and further states that this is a global commitment made in December 2015 by the Global Framework for the Elimination of Dog-mediated Human Rabies.
Mr. Williams informed his audience that in the next five years the program hopes to vaccinate 100, 000 dogs and sensitize 50% of the pe3ople and put in place a correct legal framework to protect animals.
Freetown City Council’s Environmental Social Welfare Manager, Sulaiman Parker said rabies is an endemic disease in the world that has killed lots of people. He said three Wards in Constituency 109 have been identified for the pilot project before its extension to the 149 Chiefdoms in the country.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security 1, Hon. Mrs. Marie Jalloh said rabies is a killer disease that poses serious health problems to the nation and can wreck havoc on the lives of people and the economy. “Rabies poses threat to the attainment of food security and can affect the overall development of the country,” she said. She pledged government’s support to prevent the spread of diseases, hence promoting the wellbeing of people.
The Director of Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society, Dr. A. Gudush Jalloh said over fifty thousand dogs have been vaccinated since 2005, but since supports are not forthcoming has caused the increase of unvaccinated dogs. One of their major challenge, he said is that they are yet to know the number of pets in households.
There are over 150 diseases transmitted by animals. One of the main highlights at the ceremony was that there must be a responsible ownership of pets. Sierra Leone is yet to have a functioning Vetenqry Laboratory, and it is difficult to identify animals with disease.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo reiterated that rabies is one of the fatal viral diseases in Sierra Leone, which consists of the furious and paralytic types. He called for more collaborative to identify infected animals and to step up more prevention activities.
Deputy Ministers of Education and Finance, local and international partners pledged their commitment and support to end Rabies in Sierra Leone.