Ghana launches rabies prevention project

March 23 2018

Our work to protect dogs is inspiring change in several countries, most recently in Ghana.

Late last year, the Ghanaian government launched its first-ever project to prevent rabies.

So far, in Suhum in Ghana’s south, more than 2,000 dogs have been vaccinated against the disease and a rabies education program is being rolled out in 985 schools in five different towns.

Dogs are a symbol of strength and bravery in Ghana.

This pilot project’s success is being evaluated for extension to other regions.

Dr. Emily Mudoga, our companion animal campaign manager for Africa who has supported the Ghanaian authorities with her expertise, is delighted with progress to date. 

“The highlight of the Ghana project for me is that the Ghanaian government is taking the initiative themselves. They were galvanised by our success in Zanzibar, now in the final stages of rabies elimination, our work with Kenya’s government and within the Pan African Rabies Control Network (PARACON). And like Kenya, Ghana ultimately wants to develop a national rabies strategy,” Dr. Mudoga said.

Ending death and suffering

"47 people were reported to have died from rabies in Ghana in 2016, but the actual annual death rate is much higher," says Dr. Mudoga.

Most deaths are unreported and most people do not go to the hospital to get the life-saving injections needed to treat the disease. This is due to the limited availability and expense of the anti-rabies treatments, the distances involved, and lack of education about rabies prevention and treatment.

Dr. Mudoga is very optimistic about Ghana’s approach to ending rabies and the commitment of its people.

She anticipates that next steps will be to extend the vaccination project and education work to neighbouring districts and the adoption of a national rabies strategy by the government.

Students at 985 schools in Suhum are learning about rabies prevention.

“As well as Ghana’s government, the Ghanaian people are a powerful force for change. They are strongly attached to their dogs. In Ghana they are seen as a symbol of strength and bravery – and people want to stop them and their children suffering from rabies.”

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47 people were reported to have died from rabies in Ghana in 2016, but the actual annual death rate is much higher.