Dog bites are the leading cause of rabies in Kenya with World Health Organisation Reporting about 2000 human deaths annually.
Earlier this month, two children succumbed to rabies in Murang’a County. One Lucy Wambui, a KCPE candidate from Gatanga sub county, in Muranga county is one of the deceased as a result of rabies. She had earlier on shown signs of being unwell during her examinations and the Headteacher called her parents to notify them. The girl was later admitted at Thika level 5 hospital where she succumbed to the fatal disease.
Another youngster, Sharon Chepchumba , lost her life to the deadly disease about 14 years ago. The deceased was a daughter to the national Athletics Chairman, Barnabas Korir, who is based in Nairobi. She was bitten by a rabid dog during the Christmas holidays in Nandi county.
Irresponsible dog ownership
As it is, 98% of rabies is transmitted by rabid dogs which are a direct consequence of irresponsibility by dog owners.
Dogs that end up in the streets are as a result of various reasons that may include; lack of food, lack of water and abandonment by their owners.
Mass Dog Vaccinations
As a measure to eliminate rabies, the Kenyan government developed a strategy to eliminate rabies country wide by the year 2020. Part of the strategy was to carry out mass dog vaccinations.
Statistics show that 80% of dogs in Kenya are owned, hence rabies elimination can be achieved through mass dog vaccination, a project which is ongoing in different counties in Kenya.
While the mass dog vaccinations continue, Makueni has been our pilot county in mass dog vaccinations. In collaboration with Makueni county government, we have been vaccinating dogs and the county is almost rabies free.
Education in schools
Out of every five people bitten by rabid dogs, two are usually children 0f 0-15years. Hence, We have been taking it as our initiative to educate children in schools about rabies and its possible elimination, Responsible dog ownership and the importance of mass dog vaccinations.
We have also pushed for the introduction of animal welfare as a course unit in schools, so that the children have the knowledge on how to protect the animals, and enhance good animal-human interactions.