World Rabies Day (WRD) activities in Papua New Guinea focused on Vanimo in the West Sepik Province. A team from the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) visited schools and health facilities to promote awareness of the disease, with radio broadcasts and distribution of information leaflets.
Papua New Guinea is historically free of rabies but is susceptible to incursion from neighbouring Indonesia where the disease is endemic. The West Sepik Province has been identified as a high-risk point for rabies to enter the country. The NAQIA team visited primary (n.3) and secondary (n.2) schools in the area (reaching 4,900 students out of a total of 5,080 in the area, over 96%) to educate school children about rabies and its prevention. Rabies awareness leaflets and posters were given to the children who were requested to share the information with other family members.
The team introduced dog bite registry materials to all human health facilities (Vanimo Provincial Hospital and four Health Centers) in Vanimo to encourage traceability and detection of suspected rabid dogs. The team also visited Vanimo Main Market and Yako Market. They spoke to members of the public and distributed awareness posters and leaflets at these locations.
Radio broadcasts on provincial local radio were used to initiate awareness about rabies. This contained some information on rabies and was also used to notify communities of the awareness team before arrival.
The OIE RRAP supported printing costs for posters, leaflets and banners. Follow-up on dog bite registers will be conducted bi-monthly by a local Senior Animal Health Officer and the awareness team is planning to continue rabies awareness activities in the future.
*Source: The National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspections Authority, Papua New Guinea