Breaking Records: World Rabies Day 2023 Marks the Best Year Yet

World Rabies Day 2023 theme: "Rabies: All for 1, One Health for all"

The theme for World Rabies Day 2023, “Rabies: All for 1, One Health for All," encapsulates the collaborative spirit needed to address the multifaceted challenges of rabies. The theme emphasizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health in pursuing a rabies-free world. Events worldwide echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of a holistic rabies prevention and control approach.

The widespread participation in World Rabies Day 2023 is a testament to the growing global awareness surrounding rabies prevention and control. From community-driven initiatives to large-scale government-sponsored events, individuals and organizations around the world came together to share knowledge, raise awareness, and actively contribute to the mission of eliminating rabies. Several events stood out during World Rabies Day 2023, showcasing the creativity and dedication of participants:

  • Virtual Symposium: An online symposium in memory of Dr Adolf Hempt, founder of Pasteur Institute of Novi Sad, brought together experts from different corners of the world to share insights in rabies prevention and control.
  • Community Vaccination Drives: Numerous communities organized mass vaccination drives for dogs and other animals, ensuring that key populations were protected against rabies.
  • Youth-led Awareness Campaigns: Young advocates took the lead in organizing awareness campaigns in schools and online, leveraging social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
  • Other events such as the Dog Shows, quizzes and bazaars helped to raise awareness across communities globally.
WRD 2023 social media event collage

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) played a pivotal role in orchestrating the success of World Rabies Day 2023 and bringing together all stakeholders. Collaborating with a diverse range of partners, GARC facilitated numerous initiatives and events aimed at raising awareness and promoting vaccination campaigns. Some of these were participation in the United Against Rabies and Battersea webinars as well as the STOR-REMESA workshop, an article published in National Geographic from Bavarian Nordic and collaborative events in the Philippines with Boehringer Ingelheim.

GARC also worked with Boehringer Ingelheim for the third consecutive year to award four rabies champions in the World Rabies Day Awards. With an impressive 62 nominations received from 25 different countries and more than 6,000 public votes, the competition was fierce. The awards ceremony showcased the dedication and innovation of individuals, organizations, and communities that are making significant strides in the fight against rabies, making the selection hard for the judges' panel.

Online presence also went through the roof with more than 35,000 impressions on social media platforms and 13,000 people visiting GARC’s website during the 3 days surrounding World Rabies Day - we really could not have asked for more participation from everyone!

World Rabies Day 2023 has grown immensely, and it has undeniably set a new standard for global collaboration and commitment to eliminating rabies. With a record number of events, nominations, and a unifying theme emphasizing the interconnectedness of health, this year's celebration brought us one step closer to a world where rabies is but a distant memory.

To highlight just how successful this year's World Rabies Day was, we looked back to the first World Rabies Day. The initial target of the first World Rabies Day in 2007 was to engage 55,000 people. A total of 139 events in 48 different countries were registered at the time – a stark difference to the 359 events reached this year. While this may still seem small compared to some other "International Days", we found some figures to show you just how impactful World Rabies Day was. This year, One Health Day boasted 111 events, World Animal Day proudly showcased 73 events on their platform and World TB Day featured 123 events while World NTD Day in 2022, celebrated 102 events. World Rabies Day is proving to be a leading force in health and disease elimination, making a significant impact on a global scale. Together, we not only lead the way for other disease elimination efforts to follow, but our efforts continue to grow, with more events being registered each year!

As we reflect on the achievements of this historic day, we are reminded that it is only through collective efforts, shared knowledge, and unwavering dedication that we can achieve the goal of a rabies-free world.

Article by: Kerenza Vlastou, Outreach Manager (GARC)