RIWA CONFERENCE 2016


Rabies in West Africa

RIWA CONFERENCE 2016 - "Harmonizing Stakeholders & Tools for the Prevention & Control of Rabies"

Accra March 23-26, 2016

 

COMMUNIQUE OF THE 3RD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON RABIES IN WEST AFRICA (RIWA) HELD ON 23RD TO 26TH MARCH 2016 AT THE GHANA COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS, ACCRA – GHANA.

The third International Conference on Rabies in West Africa (RIWA), was held on 23rd to 26th March 2016 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Accra, Ghana. The theme of the Conference was “Harmonizing Stakeholders and Tools for the Prevention and Control of Rabies”.

The conference had the RIWA President, Prof Albert Ogunkoya as Chairman.

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, Hon. Dr. Hanna Bisiw who declared the conference open, described Rabies as a “silent killer” while Nigerian’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole sent a message of solidarity and commitment. There speeches from OIE and WHO. Other goodwill messages were received from West African Disaster Preparedness Initiative (WADPI) and Rotary club of Accra South.

Participants included Veterinarians, Medical Doctors, Academicians, Nurses, Animal Rights activists, Journalists, Bureaucrats and Policy makers from West African countries, East Africa, South Africa, USA, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

There were also participants from World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Centre for Disease Control (CDC), OIE rabies reference laboratories including UK Animal and Plant health Agency and Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. At the end of the conference which had plenary, scientific and round table sessions, it was noted that:

  1. Rabies is neglected and under – reported in West Africa
  2. The several thousand human deaths due to rabies is totally preventable
  3. The need for collaboration between animal and human health workers especially using the “one health” initiative in the prevention and control of rabies
  4. The WHO goal of elimination of human rabies of canine origin globally by 2030 championed by WHO, OIE, FAO is feasible and should be diligently pursued

Accordingly, the conference recommends

  1. Priority attention to, and funding for, prevention and control of rabies by governments of West African countries
  2. Massive awareness campaign on responsible dog ownership, identification and vaccination
  3. Enactment of new laws and review of obsolete ones in line with current realities
  4. Mass, compulsory and free vaccination of at least 70% of dogs against rabies in West African countries
  5. Countries should augment their anti – rabies vaccine stocks through the vaccine banks using the OIE and WHO Platforms
  6. More research and surveillance on diagnosis, virus characterization and vaccines
  7. Strengthening of RIWA through increased funding, staff and logistics by governments, development partners, NGOs and other stakeholders
  8. Training and re – training of animal and human health workers on rabies diagnosis, epidemiology, management and control
  9. Stepwise Approach to Rabies Elimination ( SARE) should be adopted as the template for rabies elimination by all West African countries