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Rabies control training in Gondar, Ethiopia

Global One Health initiative conducted a rabies vaccination training this summer through the One Health Summer Institute that took place at the Gondar University College of Veterinary Medicine August 6 – 10. The training focused on topics necessary to conduct a dog mass vaccination campaign including mass vaccination strategies, understanding dog behavior and dog handling techniques. The training facilitated the ongoing efforts by Gondar University to vaccinate dogs in their city and surrounding areas.

Jeanette O’Quin,DVM, MPH, and Maria Belu, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, in collaboration with Tsegaw Fentie Kassa, DVM, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences at the University of Gondar, planned the training and selection of participants. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, field participation was limited to a total of 25 participants. Lecture attendance was extended to 45 participants due to the overwhelming enthusiastic response. Participants were selected from veterinary faculty, senior level veterinary students and field veterinarians with the intention that training veterinary faculty will insure that all future graduating veterinarians will receive the same knowledge.

“This training was especially powerful from my perspective as training veterinary faculty magnifies our impact ten-fold,” said Belu. “Any knowledge we are able to pass on to the faculty will be passed to all future graduating veterinarians."

Trainers included O'Quin, Belu, Daniel Stewart (animal behaviorist from South Africa) and Ashagre Kibret (GOHi hired Ethiopian veterinarian assisting with rabies elimination efforts in Addis Ababa). As part of the training, GOHi brought supplies that would be necessary for the safe handling of dogs. Supplies that were not utilized were donated to the University of Gondar, College of Veterinary Medicine for future utilization.

A total of 1,062 dogs were vaccinated over three days of field training.

"The best way to prevent rabies in humans is to control rabies in dogs,” said Belu. “This requires vaccination of the majority of dogs living in an area. This may seem like a simple goal but requires an intense focus on community engagement and building in-country capacity.”