National programme on 2017-2021 rabies control begins hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Thai Nguyen (VNA) – A conference to launch a national programme on the control and elimination of rabies in 2017-2021 took place in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on April 18.

The programme aims for the rate of vaccinated pet dogs in communes, wards and towns to exceed 85 percent while more than 70 percent of provinces will record no incidents of rabies in pet dogs for two consecutive years.

By 2021, over 95 percent of communes, wards and towns are expected to provide lists of households with pet dogs, while the number of fatalities due to rabies is hoped to be reduced by 60 percent.

Pham Van Dong, Director of the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said rabies claims more than 70 lives on average each year and nearly 400,000 people have to seek medical help after being bitten by dogs, costing the country about 800 billion VND (34.78 million USD) yearly.

Participants discussed building rabies-free zones, coordinating to control rabies, improving institutional capacity and inter-sectoral communications about the disease.

The country currently has more than 7.7 million pet dogs, but only 2.9 million of them are vaccinated.

Last year, more than 411,000 people were bitten by dogs and 91 were killed by rabies in 28 cities and provinces nationwide. In the first quarter this year, 12 fatalities due to rabies were recorded.

Part of the reason for the problem is poor management of pet dogs in many localities, especially in rural and mountainous areas, and a lack of canine vaccination.-VNA