Rabies elimination is feasible with collaboration

With the new goal of an end to human rabies deaths by 2030, a major step has been taken towards getting canine rabies control the political attention it needs. But setting a goal is just the beginning, and must be supported by strategies and mechanisms that would allow countries and regions to rapidly progress their rabies control efforts.

As the tenth World Rabies Day approaches, it is a good time to reflect on the way that GARC has spent these 10 years advocating for and supporting more effective rabies control initiatives.

GARC has always sought to bring together and unify as many partners as possible behind a shared vision to reduce suffering due to rabies and to devise mechanisms that can facilitate progress. By working together, we have grown and assisted a global community with an interest in rabies control and a network of activists that celebrate World Rabies Day through specific activities and events. We have linked veterinary and medical professionals to tackle rabies with the necessary One Health approach. 

We have gathered the evidence that canine rabies is a huge, economically significant problem, which is vastly underreported but its elimination is nevertheless feasible. We have supported national and regional cooperation with workshops that provide access to resources and tools, and where countries can learn from and help each other. We have brought together international stakeholders at the annual Partners for Rabies Prevention (PRP) meetings to find ways of increasing global attention to the disease.

We have combined expertise into practical tools, such as the Blueprint and Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination together with our Educational Platform, which can be used by all those fighting rabies. We have demonstrated cross-institutional support for rabies control and the evidence that it can be achieved, and the recently launched End Rabies Now advocacy campaign aims to attract more financial support for rabies control.

These efforts are all linked, with GARC’s stakeholders taking part in World Rabies Day, signing up to the End Rabies Now campaign and participating at regional workshops and in-country meetings. Through all these different initiatives, one theme runs: an understanding that networks and organizations will be more effective than isolated individuals and countries trying to go it alone.

In this newsletter we have updates on several of our areas of work, including (1) the most recent PARACON regional meeting where several tools to support countries were used, (2) GARC’s outreach  at a global travel medicine conference, (3) the preparations underway for this year’s World Rabies Day, and (4) an example of the continued dissemination of the Rabies Educator Certificate.

Over the last 10 years, GARC and its many partners have put in place not only the evidence for global rabies elimination but also the mechanisms through which we can make progress. Over the next 10 years, we will strive to see that work translated into progress and falling death rates in those countries currently struggling with rabies control. We have ahead of us a lot of work if we are to deliver on the promise of a rabies-free world, and we need everyone to collaborate–to work together towards a world where no one dies of rabies.

Louise Taylor, Scientific Director of GARC