September 28, 2016 is the 10th World Rabies Day

September 28, 2016 will be the 10th World Rabies Day. Over the years the event, with your help, has educated millions of people who live at daily risk of exposure to the disease and has resulted in the vaccination of millions of dogs. These efforts have saved lives.

Ten years is a long time and is a natural moment for reflection. Much has been achieved in that time.

Since we began, momentum has been gathering behind rabies prevention. At the global meeting organised by FAO, GARC, OIE and WHO in Geneva last December, countries agreed on a target of zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. Such a unified vision is a major milestone and we as a community need to seize on it and push forward.

The growth of the internet and social media have made communication with you, the rabies prevention community, easier and more fruitful than ever, enabling us to share resources and experiences and support each other as we move towards rabies elimination.

So in this landscape, what is the role of World Rabies Day in 2016? We’ve come up with a list (which is by no means exhaustive):

  • to motivate action for rabies prevention;
  • to raise awareness among at-risk communities of rabies transmission, how to prevent exposure and what to do if exposed;
  • to connect and motivate people working in rabies prevention (you are not alone!)
  • to shine a light on that work to attract funding; and
  • to demonstrate the commitment and determination of the community and garner further political support for the goal of elimination of human deaths.

(Get in touch if you have further additions!)

World Rabies Day is the only global event focused on rabies prevention and, as a result, has grown year-on-year. Of course, we’re hoping it will grow again this year and that you’ll support it by getting involved.

The theme for 2016 is simple but we believe it sums up what has been achieved and where we’re going:

Rabies: Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate.

Please start thinking about and registering your events now. There are some ideas here and more resources coming online over the next few weeks. Updates will be advertised on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Let's make the world sit up and take notice. #WorldRabiesDay

By Louis Nel, Executive Director, GARC and Liz Davidson, World Rabies Day Coordinator, GARC