Tunis, Tunisia

North African OIE Regional meeting for strategy to fight Rabies (10 November 2020)

Within the framework of REMESA, the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for North Africa organised on November 10, 2020 a regional meeting for North Africa dedicated to the rabies control strategy. Nearly 40 participants were present. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the state of play of the activities carried out in the sub-region in order to create synergies and to propose new projects likely to have an impact on the ground, according to the expectations of the countries.

Cover picture (top) (c) Kaouther Oukaili (DGSV Tunisia) 2018

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia took part with multi-sectoral involvement (animal health, human health, environment, local governments, security, etc.) in line with the “One Health” concept. In addition, the expertise of the OIE and FAO Reference Laboratories (Anses, Nancy and IZS, Venice) as well as the ERFAN network were associated with this event. The Institut Pasteur in Tunis (Tunisia) also participated with its expertise to share with the countries of North Africa the results of a start-up project (Tech for good & Rabies control – hackathon project). FAO (headquarters) and OIE (North Africa office) also made presentations. Finally, representatives of the European Commission, UMA as well as Spain and Portugal also attended the meeting.

The discussion highlighted the need of working on a communication strategy especially because of the need of building a new approach (e.g. by exploiting new digital and/or start-up applications).  In addition, the animal welfare issues linked to stray dogs obtained a unanimous particular attention in light of the need of capturing, vaccinating and neutering stray/roaming dogs accompanied by the release in the community.

Two relevant OIE twinning agreements (rabies and animal welfare) are ongoing and these projects could be a driver for further developments in the region.

The main issues were highlighted:

  • Animal welfare component increasingly demanded by civil society;
  • The control plans exist but the application of the plans remain to be improved;
  • Epidemiological tracing of outbreaks (characterization of viral strains);
  • Mass vaccination of accessible dogs remains the priority (they represent a high percentage of the dog population);
  • Improve and digitalise communication / awareness campaigns
  • The notion of responsible ownership was also discussed as important point in the control of canine rabies
  • The public/private partnership was also a point mentioned in the strategies as well as the involvement of veterinary students.

More information

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