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null World Rabies Day 2022: One Health, Zero Deaths

Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Office for Viet Nam, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Viet Nam, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) renew their commitment to stand with other sectors and stakeholders towards the global elimination of human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.

This year’s theme is “One Health, Zero Deaths”, leveraging the concept of One Health that is becoming increasingly entrenched in disease control programs. As recent examples such as COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance have shown the world, the health of people, animals, and the environment are all inextricably linked and interdependent.

The spirit behind this year’s theme encourages collaboration, partnership, and a joint approach towards rabies elimination – or “Zero Deaths”, in line with the “Zero by 30: Global Strategic Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030”. Furthermore, the One Health aspect of the theme emphasizes the importance of collaboration, ensuring all people (whether professional or a member of the public) act together as integral partners who can make a difference and contribute to collective action towards rabies elimination. This approach exemplifies One Health, as an impetus for the participation and collaboration among human, animal, and environmental sectors. 

The global strategic plan was jointly adopted by WHO, FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) in 2018. In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local governments, with support from these international partners have been working together to implement the National Programme on Rabies Prevention and Control. Reducing human deaths from dog-mediated rabies has been a critical goal and challenge for many countries in recent decades. However, through greater collaboration and by taking simple steps today to accelerate rabies control, we can help ensure the elimination of human deaths by 2030.

While some progress has been made over the past 10 years, Viet Nam has continued to report 70 to 100 human deaths from rabies each year. In the first eight months of 2022, Viet Nam reported 40 human deaths. Despite a significant decrease in rabies deaths in some provinces, the number of deaths increased in 20 provinces over the five-year period 2017 to 2021 compared to the period 2011 to 2016. This highlights the need to adopt lessons learned and work closely with local governments to ensure a decrease in deaths going forward.

Acting WHO Representative in Viet Nam Dr Socorro Escalante, emphasized the need for strong commitment and the targeting of priority areas in order to eliminate deaths by 2030. “Strengthening political commitment to ensure access, availability and affordability to proven interventions such as safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines, is critical to saving lives along with ensuring a One Health approach to eliminating rabies.” Dr Escalante also reiterated, “strong coordination between animal, human health, and other sectors is vital to ensure prevention and control programmes are efficiently and effectively managed.

“There is increasing international and high-level political support for One Health as a sustainable solution to combat threats such as rabies. Dog vaccination is the most cost-effective single intervention to protect humans from contracting rabies. By working together using the One Health approach, to increase rabies vaccination coverage in animals to reach at least 70%, we can break transmission of rabies to human and accelerate the progress toward Zero by 30 goal”, added Dr Rémi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative in Viet Nam.

“To improve the canine vaccination coverage, we need to ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability (3A) of rabies vaccine,” emphasized Dr. Lindsay Kim, Global Health Security Program director, U.S. CDC office in Viet Nam. “Furthermore, strengthening rabies surveillance using the One Health approach and integrating it with the event-based surveillance program that is currently implemented and advocated by the Ministry of Health should also be focused to get closer to the ‘Zero by 30’ goal.”

In recognition of World Rabies Day 2022, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Ben Tre provincial People’s Committee, with support from FAO, WHO, U.S. CDC, and other organizations will host a joint event and meeting in Ben Tre province on 28 September 2022 to highlight shared commitment to the “Zero by 30” goal, review results of Vietnam’s National Rabies Control Program, and discuss opportunities for supporting increased vaccination in dogs.

The Viet Nam Government is committed to achieving the 2030 goal of eliminating human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by renewing the National Programme on the Control and Elimination of Rabies 2022–2030. The WHO, FAO, and U.S. CDC reaffirm our continued support to the Government of Viet Nam in developing essential policies and mechanisms to reduce deaths. We encourage the Government, particularly at the local level, to prioritize and increase resources for the management of dog populations, the vaccination of dogs, and provision of post exposure prophylaxis for those bitten by dogs. FAO, WHO and U.S. CDC commit to provide ongoing technical support to the Government of Viet Nam as we work together to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies in Viet Nam. Together, we can achieve “Zero by 2030”.

For more information, please contact:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 
Pawin Padungtod, Senior Technical Coordinator
Tel: 84-24-3202-0019

World Health Orgnization
Tran Thi Loan
Communications Assistant
Tel: 84-24-38500100

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC)
Meredith French
Communications Advisor
Tel: 84-24-3935-2132