Policy and Advocacy
The largest hurdle to the elimination of dog and human rabies lies in the lack of political priority and will.
Professor Louis Nel
Global rabies elimination is hampered by the lack of funding and support from international institutions and lack of priority, planning and infrastructure by governments in many rabies-endemic countries.
Over the last few years, the global community of rabies stakeholders - the tripartite organisations (OIE/FAO/WHO), GARC and its Partners for Rabies Prevention network - have focused on strengthening existing opportunities, raising awareness (World Rabies Day), fostering collaboration and addressing the applied research gaps as pre-requisite steps to building the political commitment to prevent canine-mediated human rabies.
Global strategy to eliminate rabies
For World Rabies Day 2015, GARC and the three global intergovernmental organizations (the World Health Organization (WHO), The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)) published the Rationale for investing in the global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies. This advocacy tool raises the profile of rabies by outlining the human and economic case for increased investment in the disease.
The document calls on countries to invest in cost-effective and sustainable control programs, particularly the mass vaccination of dogs, and makes the case that global freedom from dog-mediated human rabies is feasible.
In December 2015, rabies stakeholders from around the world gathered in Geneva for a landmark meeting, entitled “Global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies: The time is now”. The meeting embodied the current momentum in rabies control, and highlighted the evidence that canine rabies elimination is feasible, equitable and that dog vaccination is the only long-term solution to end human rabies deaths. The national delegates, GARC, WHO, OIE and FAO agreed on a new global framework to eliminate rabies, to achieve the strategic vision of zero deaths from dog mediated rabies by 2030.
GARC is currently working with WHO, OIE and FAO on a business plan to achieve this vision.
The 2030 goal is in line with international developments related to improving global health.
In June 2015, the G7 Group of governments expressed their intention to direct increased resources and attention to neglected tropical diseases, and especially to adopting a One Health approach in doing so. One Health has been defined as "the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines — working locally, nationally, and globally — to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment."
In September 2015, the United Nations summit agreed the post-2015 development agenda, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goal 3 of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, includes the following:
By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
Rabies is categorized as one of the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases by the World Health Organization.