United Against Rabies launches global plan to achieve zero rabies human deaths

Paris /Geneva/Rome/Manhattan

Investing approximately US$ 50 million between now and 2030 can support the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies. A strategic plan that provides a phased, all-inclusive, intersectoral approach to eliminate human deaths from rabies has just been launched by United Against Rabies, a collaboration of four partners: the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).

Zero by 30: the global strategic plan to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030 was prepared following a global call in 2015 to “end human rabies deaths by 2030”.

The plan, finalized in consultation with relevant global, regional and country stakeholders, builds on the current international momentum to eliminate rabies.

In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and health for all, Zero by 30 advocates for investment to strengthen human and animal health systems and save lives.

A summary of the plan was made available on the last World Rabies Day (28 September).

The plan provides a coordinated response to rabies prevention, integrated with strengthening of human and veterinary health systems, in order to reach the world’s most underserved populations by engaging, empowering and enabling all countries to lead and strengthen elimination efforts.

In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for transmission of rabies virus to humans, which occurs mostly through bites or scratches, usually via saliva. Rabies is 100% vaccine-preventable, yet the disease kills almost 59 000 people every year – or one person every nine minutes, 40% of whom are children living in Asia and Africa.

The world has the knowledge, technology and vaccines that are needed to eliminate rabies. The plan supported by the four partners aims to:

  • prevent and respond to dog-transmitted rabies by improving awareness and education, reducing human rabies risk through expanded dog vaccinations, and improving access to healthcare, medicines and vaccines for populations at risk;
  • generate and measure impact by implementing proven effective guidance for rabies control, and encouraging the use of innovative surveillance technologies to monitor progress towards Zero by 30; and
  • demonstrate the impact of the United Against Rabies collaboration in national, regional and global rabies elimination programmes, in order to ensure continued stakeholder engagement at all levels and sustained financing to achieve Zero by 30.

Investing now in rabies elimination will accelerate progress towards making the 2030 goal a reality.

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