Current Affairs

Global fight against rabies receives major boost

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) has received significant funding from both the UBS Optimus Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help improve rabies control worldwide.

Alongside revealing its initiatives for the forthcoming year, GARC revealed it has received a multi-million dollar grant from the Optimus Foundation to expand its successful trial of community-led rabies elimination in Bohol, Phillipines to communities in Chad, Indonesia, Tanzania and further areas of the Phillipines.

The Communities Against Rabies Exposure(CARE) programme, led by GARC alongside local governments, Universities and research institutes, was set up to raise awareness and eliminate rabies in areas where the disease is most prevalent.

Approximately three billion people are unnecessarily threatened by the disease, which is virtually 100 per cent preventable.

Executive director of GARC Dr Deborah Briggs commented on her hopes for the CARE programme: “In Bohol we saw just how powerful a community-based intervention can be in the control of rabies. By combining educational activities with vaccination of dogs we were able to remove this significant threat to life in the region in just three years. Thanks to the new funding from the Optimus Foundation we hope to be able to dramatically reduce the impact of rabies on millions more lives, and help to maintain this protection in the long-term.”

CEO of the Optimus Foundation Phyllis Costanza added: “To eliminate rabies, especially for children, who are the primary victims, it is essential to address the cause and effect of this deadly disease. As dogs are responsible for more than 98 per cent of rabies infection in children, we must co-ordinate with veterinary, medical and public health experts. We must also work with community leaders and educators to ensure they understand and can teach children about how to avoid rabies.”

GARC also revealed it had received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of promotion of the activities of the Partners for Rabies Prevention group, including the development of health economic models and a global rabies elimination plan.

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