Rabies cases on the rise in Phalombe

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Phalombe District Council says it is looking for funds to go towards rabies campaign including shooting of stray dogs as cases of the viral disease are rapidly increasing.

Revealing this development during an emergency District Executive Committee meeting, the District Commissioner for Phalombe, Gossam Mafuta, said he has received a concern about the increase from the district’s health office.

Gossam Mafuta

Mafuta: over 100 cases are being reported.

“There is a concern from our DHO that cases of rabies are increasing at a rapid rate, over 100 cases are being reported in a month only in the three traditional authorities thus Nazombe, Nkhulambe and Chiwalo,” Malawi24 quoted Mafuta.

District Medical Officer, Tommy Mthepeya, then disclosed that it costs Mk101,666 to treat a single rabies patient of which when summed up it shows that the health office is spending over Mk10 million per month.

This means that a huge chunk of the district’s annual drug budget is being used to purchase rabies vaccine for those bitten by dogs or cats.

When asked to tell the house what the district agriculture office is doing to curb rabies problems, District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO), Jackson Mkombezi, said the population of dogs and cats is just too huge.

“We have about 28000 dogs and cats that are in the district but our office only targets 16000 to be vaccinated due to financial constraints,” he said.

Mkombezi then said that the Mk6 million which his office receives from government for the vaccination campaign is not enough.

He however recommended that some funds should be realized for the rabies campaign which should include shooting of stray dogs.

“There are a lot of dogs which are moving around in our roads and it is difficult to vaccinate such dogs and it can be good if we shoot them down thereby decreasing their population,” said the DADO.

Mkombezi concluded that during campaigns some people do not bring dogs and cats in vaccination centres due to the misconceptions that they become less aggressive when vaccinated.

Rabies is a dangerous viral disease of dogs and other mammals, transmissible through the saliva to humans. The disease causes madness and convulsion.

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