More Yemenis at-risk of rabies
Amal Al-Yarisi (author), photos courtesy of Mahamood Abdulrahman (photographer)
Stray dogs are commonplace in the vicinity of her house.
She said she hopes the government finds a solution to the spread of dogs, which can lead to a tense situation if they get excited.
“Dogs chased me many times,” Sarah Yaseen, a university student, said.
She is resentful about the spread of dogs in the streets, especially because she said they break through fences and into private yards.
The Ethical Treatment of Animals Organization on Rabies Combat World Day launched a free vaccination campaign in Sana’a governorate for dogs and cats. Mahamood Abdulrahman, the head of the organization, called on animal owners to attend the event in order to immunize their animals against rabies. The vaccination campaign was created in cooperation with the Sana’a Veterinary Clinic.
Abdulrahman said Rabies Combat World Day is an initiative fostered by a charitable institution called the Combat Rabies Coalition in coordination with disease prevention centers in the U.S.
Rabies kill roughly 55,000 people each year; that is to say one person dies each ten minutes, according to Abdurahman, who asserted that such a thing drove researchers to start a campaign aimed at controlling the spread of this disease. Sept. 28 was announced as a world day to highlight the dangers of rabies.
Abdulrahman also said the utmost is exerted in order to spread awareness about the disease throughout Yemeni society, particularly in rural areas and communities that lack knowledge pertinent to how to deal with this risky disease.
Yemen is one of the countries that rank highest in regards to the spread of rabies. This is because of the absence of a strategy to eliminate this disease, Abdurahman said, indicating that the phenomenon—to be uprooted—requires collaborative social efforts.
Abdulrahman said the Ministry of Public Health and Population combats this disease in one way: treating the bitten. However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation examines the heads of dogs, and the Cleaning Project’s role is to kill the stray dogs.
“This indicates the lack of one vision to rid this epidemic found in dogs, cats and some mammals.”
A dangerous phenomenon
Dr. Ahmed Al-Ward, head of the National Program for Combating Rabies in the Ministry of Health, said rabies is hazardous and is caused by viruses that attack the neurotic system; biting is a main reason behind the transmission of this disease.
Once this disease afflicts a person, his life becomes in danger, Al-Ward said.
“However, the immediate vaccination can make the symptom disappear.”
He said the role of the National Program for Combating Rabies is only to treat those exposed to bites and to provide them with vaccinations and preventative medicine.
The number of at-risk Yemenis has increased largely in recent years, he indicated.
“We used more than 23,000 vaccinations from 2008 to 2012. This is a very large amount.”
This happened, he said, because of inadequate efforts by the Ministry of Public Works and Highways—in a charge of combating and killing stray dogs—and the Ministry Of Agriculture, which is in charge of vaccinating the dogs.