The Upper East Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr Henry Nii Ayi Anang has cautioned against the increasing rate of rabies virus cases in the region for the past ten years.
He said some municipalities and districts, such as Bongo, Talensi, Kassena-Nankana West, Builsa South, Bolgatanga East, Bolgatanga, Kassena-Nankana, and Builsa North have been identified as hotspots for rabies.
According to him, the disease has dealt a devastating blow to human and animal lives.
“This disease has caused some children to become orphans, some families have lost their bread winners to rabies, to mention but a few.
“Most painful part of it is that rabies is absolutely preventable, therefore if the needed attention is given, it can be totally eliminated from our society to prevent these needless deaths,” the veterinary doctor stated.
Dr Anang was speaking at the 2022 World Rabies Day community celebration markedon Wednesday in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region regional capital.
The celebration which was held on the theme: “One Health, Zero Deaths.”
He described as deplorable and sheer negligence the laid-back attitude of pet owners toward ensuring the vaccination of their animals, saying it was worrying that “over 84 per cent of the dog keepers do not care about the wellbeing of these animals, hence refuse to vaccinate them.”
He explained that eradicating rabies in the region and the country as a whole by 2030is a near impossible due to low vaccination coverage as thousands of pets were not vaccinated annually.
He, therefore, made a clarion call to all stakeholders to join forces to push aggressively the agenda towards reducing the disease, if not totally eliminating it.
It has been estimated that about 129,908 pets are being reared or bred by the people in the Upper East Region.
On his part, the Acting Chief Director for the Veterinary Services, Dr Patrick Abakeh, urged citizens, especially the health workers to embark on vigorous anti-rabies campaign as part of their contribution towards the fight against the disease.
According to him, rabies was a fatal virus as statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated over 70, 000 lives were lost in the world annually due to the disease, adding that Ghana was on the radar to be hit by record-breaking rabies-related deaths if its citizens did not take the vaccination of the pets seriously.
As part of its resolve to attaining the 2030 target, he mentioned that just like Australia, Jamaica, Sweden and other Asian and African countries, Ghana has come out with a National Action Plan, and he was optimistic the adverse impact of dog bite on the human being would be drastically reduced.
The Regional Director for the Department of Agriculture, Francis Ennohpleaded with owners of the domesticated pets to take advantage of a free vaccination exercise being organised in the region as part of the World Rabies Day Community Celebration.
FROM FRANCIS DABRE DABANG, BOLGATANGA