GARC Welcomes G7 One Health Approach To Neglected Diseases
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control has welcomed a statement from the G7 Summit, at Schloss Elmau in Germany, to commit to a One Health approach to develop new health technologies, including vaccines to tackle neglected tropical diseases.
The G7 Summit statement says “We are strongly committed to the One Health approach, encompassing all areas – human and animal health as well as agriculture and the environment.”
Professor Louis Nel, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, said, “We welcome the commitment from the G7 to investing in vaccines for neglected diseases. I am pleased that the G7 has prioritised diseases that can be prevented with vaccine programmes.
“Canine rabies is a neglected tropical disease that is easily preventable with mass dog vaccinations and prompt treatment for potential rabies victims. Once symptoms start to show, rabies is fatal - so it is essential that there is prompt access to post-exposure vaccines. Sadly, access to this treatment is poor in developing countries”
Professor Nel said, “I am particularly pleased that the G7 has shown a strong commitment to a One Health approach. Rabies can be eliminated using a One Health approach with the human and animal health sectors working together.”
Rabies deaths are entirely preventable through prompt administration of post-exposure treatment (PEP) to bite victims. However, accessibility to PEP is very poor – often restricted to capital cities in the poorest countries. Rabies kills 59,000 people every year and yet it is entirely preventable. Mass dog vaccinations are widely considered to be the best way to eliminate canine rabies and stop human deaths.
Professor Nel welcomed the renewed focus on health surveillance following the ebola crisis. He said, “The lack of effective surveillance means that the real extent of the rabies problem is not fully known, and also hampers us in our efforts to control and eliminate rabies.”