World Rabies Day—10 years of making the world take notice

Earlier in the year somebody remarked to us that the problem with World Rabies Day is that every day is ‘World Rabies Day’. His point was that he vaccinates dogs and educates communities about rabies every day of the year, not just September 28.

When World Rabies Day was launched in 2007, it was about motivating action. But, over the last 9 years, we have found that it is so much more than that. Registered World Rabies Day events are a window to the work that the rabies prevention community is doing to end rabies, be that in South Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, or Peru, everyday. World Rabies Day is not just about taking action, it is a way of standing up together and making the world take notice. We encourage you to have a look at what is going on, and if you haven’t registered your event yet—even if (and perhaps especially if) it is something you do every day—please do so now.

There is a range of free resources to help you with your event, including the new modifiable posters. These are available in eight different languages, and enable you to upload your logo to quickly and easily create professional materials. If you’d like the posters in a different language, please get in touch with our campaigns team.

What is particularly exciting this year is the World Rabies Day MSD Awards. We devised and launched these to recognise, reward, and bring attention to some of the work going on to fight rabies every day in affected communities. There has been an impressive array of entries, and we look forward to sharing the nominees’ work with you over the coming months.

Technology makes initiatives like the posters and the awards possible, but community outreach programmes, fundamental in creating the behaviour change that will eliminate rabies deaths, often lack funding to print, transport and distribute these materials. Almost all of the award nominees, even the funded programmes, would use the award funds to print and distribute awareness materials in their communities. There is always a need for outreach funding. If you’re a donor, please remember how important this component is in rabies elimination programmes.

Also in this edition of the GARC newsletter, we highlight new scientific articles about World Rabies Day and editorials using World Rabies Day as an opportunity to remind the international community of the on-going need to improve rabies control and the recent developments bringing an end to human rabies closer.

The tremendous activity around the 10th World Rabies Day by so many individuals and organizations looks to confirm again its value in advocating for improved rabies control and supporting the global elimination target of 2030 that is now in place. But we still need you. If you use social media, please include #WorldRabiesDay when posting about World Rabies Day, and—again—if you’re planning an activity, multiply its impact by registering it.

We value your time and contributions. Thank you for being part of the community.

Contributed by Liz Davidson and Deepa Balaram of the GARC World Rabies Day team