Tripartite

Workshop on Enhancing Progress towards Rabies Elimination "Zero by 30" in the SAARC Region

Introduction

Rabies, a 100% vaccine preventable yet neglected disease, claims tens of thousands of human lives every year, mostly among underprivileged and marginalized populations in Asia and Africa. In 2015, a global study estimated that canine rabies caused over 3.7 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and 8.6 billion USD economic losses annually. Over 95% of human rabies cases are due to dog bites. It has been proven in several countries and regions that the elimination of rabies as a public health problem is feasible through regional cooperation.

To tackle rabies, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) joined effort to launch the Global Strategic Plan, “Zero by 30”, in June 2018, aiming to end human deaths from dog mediated rabies by 2030 in the global aspect. Regionally, FAO, OIE and WHO (the regional tripartite) have come together to support rabies control activities in the region by organising regional/ sub-regional rabies workshops involving both the human and animal health sectors. Previous collaboration between the regional tripartite and the SAARC Secretariat had conducted workshop in 2015 to develop a SAARC Rabies Elimination Project for funding support from the SAARC Development Fund.

Following through the path towards the goal, the regional tripartite, SAARC Secretariat, GARC, World Animal Protection (WAP) and other partners have jointly organised this workshop, in June 2019, with the theme “Enhancing Progress towards Rabies Elimination Goal of Zero by 30 in the SAARC region” to provide a forum in reviewing country progress, sharing successful stories and good practice, discussing issues of mutual concern and identifying concrete, national and regional roadmaps or plans to achieve the global elimination goal.

 

Workshop Objectives

  1. To map the ground realities regarding rabies prevention and control programmes in the member countries towards the “Zero by 30” goal.
  2. To share updates from tripartite and partners on available tools, frameworks and successful stories
  3. To develop draft multisector national plans and activities for “Zero by 30” or rabies elimination goals based on SARE assessment or questionnaire survey
  4. To identify gaps and required support for the implementation of the road ap in rabies control/ elimination developed during the workshop that can be sourced from the national Government or potential international/ development partners.

 

Key Outputs

 

  • SAARC Member States to develop and endorse their National Action Plans/National Rabies Elimination Plan  for rabies elimination by 31 December 2020
  • MSs to make rabies notifiable in both sectors by 31 December 2020
  • Scale up mass dog vaccination using high quality vaccines in strategic and phased manner
  • Establish and use One Health coordination mechanism at national and sub-national levels for implementation of rabies elimination activities
  • Use available regional/sub-regional platforms to garner support from SAARC Development Fund (SDF) and SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC)
  • The Tripartite and partners to support developing a project proposal on SAARC rabies elimination project for possible funding by the SAARC Development Fund (SDF)
  • The OIE to continue to maintain the rabies vaccine bank and facilitate access by SAARC Member Countries and
  •  SAARC Secretariat to encourage SAARC MSs to submit SAARC rabies elimination project proposal to SDF for funding and organise SAARC Ministerial level advocacy meetings to seek political commitment for rabies elimination for the region.

The SAARC rabies workshop was preceded by a series of in-country Step-wise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) assessment workshops conducted in five countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka) wherein countries assessed their progress and also developed country work plans using the Practical Work Plan towards Achieving Rabies Elimination (PWARE) tool facilitated and financed by OIE, FAO and GARC.