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Ohio State collaboration on rabies mass vaccination training continues

Maria Belu, DVM, a veterinary public health resident at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine (advised by Jeanette O'Quin, DVM, MPH) recently returned to Addis Ababa University (AAU) to lead a week-long training program to help train students and faculty how to vaccinate dogs against rabies.

The spread of rabies is a critical concern in Addis Ababa, and a complex issue that requires an integrated One Health approach. Vaccinating dogs against rabies is the most effective way to prevent fatal cases of this disease in humans, which is why Tamrat Abebe Zeleke, PhD, a veterinarian and faculty member at AAU, is planning to launch another intensive rabies vaccination campaign.

Last year, Ohio State’s Global One Health initiative team alongside local partners vaccinated an estimated 7,400 dogs in Lideta and Addis Ketema and trained 28 veterinarians, veterinary assistants and dog catchers on humane animal handling, maintaining vaccine cold chain and vaccine administration.

With assistance from Daniel Stewart, an animal behaviorist from South Africa, and Ashagre Kebret, an animal health worker from Addis Ababa, Belu and the team trained 12 veterinary faculty and senior-level veterinary students. The training consisted of classroom lessons and mentoring of safe animal handling techniques as well as vaccination technique, delivery strategies and community education. The last two days of the training included a hands-on experience in which more than 380 dogs were vaccinated.

For the Global One Health initiative, emphasis has always been placed on building local capacity in Ethiopia, and the training of veterinary faculty exemplifies this goal. Faculty will pass on what they learned to future veterinarians. Students will participate in the ongoing rabies vaccination efforts and once they become veterinarians, they will have the skills and knowledge to participate in the nation’s efforts to eliminate rabies.