Fighting Dog-Mediated Rabies in Namibia - Implementation of a Rabies Elimination Program in the Northern Communal Areas
The major part of the global burden of dog-mediated rabies falls on Africa and Asia, where still an estimated 60,000 people die of the disease annually. Like in many African countries, dog-mediated rabies is a major public health concern in Namibia, costing the country an estimated 242 human deaths during the past two decades, in particular in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs). Consequently, under the “One Health” concept, the Namibian government adopted a National Rabies Control Strategy in 2015, which strives to contribute to the global goal of ending dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030. A key component of this strategy was the implementation a dog rabies elimination program in the NCAs in 2016, being designed as a stepwise regional rollout strategy by building on experience gained in a pilot project area. The area of implementation covers approximately 263,376 km2 and 64 constituencies, with around 1.2 million inhabitants and estimated 93,000 dogs.