The Veterinary Service Dorectorate has organised a day’s capacity building workshop on Rabies for journalists and other media practitioners in the Upper West Region. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Ghana Health Service and USAID. The workshop was to among other things update the media on the the situation with regard to Rabies in the region.
In his address, the Upper West Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr. Sulemana Sako noted that 99 percent of Human rabies is mediated by dogs through biting. Dr. Sako however noted that other animals such as goats, sheep, swine, bat among others could equally transmit the disease when exposed to an infected animal.
He said Ghana in its attempt to proffer solutions towards reducing the spread of the deadly disease, adopted surveillance and monitoring, outbreak investigation, sampling of laboratory confirmation, post exposure management in humans and animal vaccinations especially dogs and cats. The country also increased public education as measures to ensure that rabies cases are reduced drastically if not completely eradicated.
Dr. Sako revealed that this year, 2 persons died of rabies in Lawra. Another person who was infected at Nadowli however survived due to the timely report and intervention by health professionals.
He charged Journalists to help educate the public on the need to report cases of dog bites and cat bites to the health service providers for action to be taken. Dr. Sako stressed that early reports to health professionals is the only way an individual can survive rabies infection adding that once the said person begun showing signs and symptoms treament is almost impossible.
As part of measures to control rabies outbreak, 1,946 dogs have vaccinated out of 36,171 dog population in the region. Meanwhile, 31 cats have been vaccinated in Lawra Municipality. Dr. Sako attributed the low number of cats vaccinated to lack of data on the cat population.
Meanwhile, Dr. M.Y Ziekah, a Veterinarian with the wildlife division who doubles as the Kumasi zoo manager admonished dog owners, cat owners as well as everyone who keeps a pet to send them for vaccination and send them for medical checks once every month.
He again warned that people should give a suitable distance to a barking dog and should not entertain play from dogs with abnormal behaviours and strange dogs as well.