Under the framework of the ongoing project on Rabies Elimination in Namibia, managed by the OIE, with technical support from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), with financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Namibia, the OIE held a sub-regional seminar on rabies in southern Africa, in Windhoek, Namibia from 10-12 April 2018. The seminar was attended by about 50 people; comprising of animal and public health experts from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition, the Chief Veterinary Officers and OIE Delegates of Germany (donor), Angola and Namibia also attended the meeting, and a broad spectrum of resource persons including the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Union (AU-IBAR) and others. Representatives from OIE head office and of the regional offices for southern and Eastern Africa, as well as from other OIE supported rabies projects in Kenya and Tunisia also attended and shared their experiences.
The objectives of the seminar were to promote collaboration between the Veterinary and the Public Health authorities under the One Health umbrella, in the control of rabies and to increase political will and promote dog-mediated rabies elimination in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat and SADC Member Countries.
The meeting acknowledged that rabies is still endemic in the SADC region, where it continues to cause deaths in the most vulnerable communities, and that it remains inextricably linked to poverty and that its elimination should therefore be regarded as a public good. The seminar was held under a one-health framework, and the realisation that the global community has committed to the global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies by 2030.