To celebrate World Rabies Day (WRD), the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) in Sri Lanka organised several events that were supported by the OIE RRAP. These included awareness events for the general public and school children as well as training on sampling for veterinary officers. Dog vaccination and neutering was also conducted nationally.
In preparation for WRD, communication materials were translated into Sinhala and Tamil languages before printing and distribution to Provincial Directors (n.9) and Veterinary Offices (n.246) of the DAPH. Posters in Sinhala were also prepared and distributed to Veterinary Offices (n.300). Leaflets (n.7,500) and vehicle stickers (n.20,000) were prepared for Provincial Directors, Veterinary Investigating Officers and Veterinary Surgeons to distribute to school children and the general public.
The WRD launching ceremony was held at the Institute of Continuing Education in Gannoruwa. The Director General (OIE Delegate) and directors of the DAPH, Dean and Heads of Department at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, officials from the Ministry of Public Administration, Disaster Management and Livestock Development, and Veterinary Surgeons from the DAPH were present. Afterwards, a workshop on “Handling of animal samples suspected of rabies” was conducted for Veterinary Investigating Officers (n.10). Participants had hands-on experience in sampling techniques such as the straw, pipette and scoop methods.
A public programme was held at the Government Veterinary Hospital, Getambe, Peradeniya. Present were the officials as above plus the Governor of Central Province, officials from the Ministry of Health from the Central Province, municipal and local government, NGOs, media, schools and the general public.
A dog vaccination, sterilisation and awareness programme was conducted at the Public Ground at Udawalpola, Kurunegala. For this event, the Mayor of the Kurunegala Municipal Council, officials from health and local government, schools, media and NGOs participated. There was a large crowd of members of the public. In total, 160 dog vaccinations and 75 sterilisations were performed on the day.
The OIE RRAP supported WRD with translation and printing of communication materials, and meeting costs for programmes. WRD activities in Sri Lanka included a total of 26 rabies awareness programmes with participation of 4,169 school children and 125 teachers. 11 programmes for 1,893 farmers and general public, 6 programmes for 360 government officials (Additional Divisional Secretaries, Agriculture Instructors, Samurdhi and irrigation officials) were conducted by officials of the DAPH and local veterinary and medical officials from the provinces. In addition, 531 dog sterilisations and 11,190 dog vaccinations were carried out countrywide during and in the weeks following WRD.
*Source: Department of Animal Production and Health of the Ministry of Public Administration, Disaster Management & Livestock Development, Government of Sri Lanka