From recognition to action : a strategic approach to foster sustainable collaborations for rabies elimination

24 Jan 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) have established a global goal for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030. A significant number of rabies endemic countries have also committed themselves, individually or as a group, to eliminate rabies from their territories. Although tools to eliminate canine rabies are available, financial resources for rabies control are scarce. Public—private partnerships have shown effective results in the control of certain neglected tropical diseases—like filariasis elimination championed by the Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) and Guinea worm control spearheaded by the Carter Center-and could prove a possible strategy for rabies. The funding to achieve global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths has not yet been realized, and it is unlikely that a single external partner would be able to provide all resources necessary to develop an endemic country’s comprehensive, multiyear rabies control program. Instead, the fiscal investment and infrastructural development will, in many instances, need to be driven in part from the endemic country’s government. Indeed, just as rabies elimination is a global public good, national governments should recognize that freedom of dog rabies is a national public good, for which public funds should be invested. National governments should also take the lead in making the final decisions on the overall strategy and the day to day implementation of rabies elimination or control activities. Support from external sources, including international agencies, public entities, donor governments, and private partners, may assist with bridging the funding gap and should aim to fund objectives that align with, or promote, the development of a sustainable government-operated rabies program.