Educating for a Rabies-Free World: ‘All for 1, One Health for all’

Rabies, a global threat endangering approximately 4.6 billion people, poses a significant threat, with children disproportionately affected.

The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) emphasize the critical importance of incorporating rabies education within the school curricula. Rabies, particularly when transmitted through dog bites, predominantly impacts marginalized populations in resource-poor regions. Tragically, a large majority of these fatalities could be prevented if more than 70 percent of dogs were vaccinated, and if prompt wound washing and post-exposure treatment were administered to bite victims. While the tools to combat rabies are readily available, their effective implementation remains a challenge.

By imparting knowledge to children about the risks associated with rabies and the essential preventive measures, we can empower the next generation to safeguard themselves and their communities.

Dr. Osahon Enabulele, President of the World Medical Association, commented, “This year’s World Rabies Day carries the theme ‘All for 1, One Health for all’ – an apt reminder that a comprehensive strategy is imperative to prevent human rabies deaths. This strategy encompasses increased public awareness, effective risk communication, and, crucially, the education of communities and professionals about rabies.”

Dr. Rafael Laguens, President of the World Veterinary Association, added, “It is essential to raise awareness among decision-makers in all countries of the need to accurately and reliably report rabies data, as requested by international organizations such as WHO or WOAH. So, it will be necessary to take action to “educate” politicians as well, since without the appropriate decisions to obtain this data, it will be impossible to eradicate rabies efficiently, a lethal disease that is entirely preventable.”

This year’s World Rabies Day continues to underscore the pivotal role of education in eradicating dog-bite transmitted rabies. The ultimate objective remains the elimination of this deadly disease by 2030, as outlined in the ‘Zero by 30 plan’ by WHO, OIE, FAO and GARC.

The World Veterinary Association and the World Medical Association are confident that prioritizing education through a One Health approach and community health strategies will pave the way for a future free from rabies.