Since the launch of the Global framework to eliminate human rabies transmitted by dogs by 2030 in 2015, WHO has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and other stakeholders and partners to prepare a global strategic plan. This includes a country-centric approach to support, empower and catalyse national entities to control and eliminate rabies. In this context, WHO convened its network of collaborating centres on rabies, specialized institutions, members of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Rabies, rabies experts and partners to review strategic and technical guidance on rabies to support implementation of country and regional programmes.
This report provides updated guidance based on evidence and programmatic experience on the multiple facets of rabies prevention, control and elimination. Key updates include: (i) surveillance strategies, including cross-sectoral linking of systems and suitable diagnostics; (ii) the latest recommendations on human and animal immunization; (iii) palliative care in low resource settings; (iv) risk assessment to guide management of bite victims; and (v) a proposed process for validation and verification of countries reaching zero human deaths from rabies.
The meeting supported the recommendations endorsed by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization in October 2017 to improve access to affordable rabies biologicals, especially for underserved populations, and increase programmatic feasibility in line with the objectives of universal health coverage. The collaborative mechanisms required to prevent rabies are a model for collaboration on One Health at every level and among multiple stakeholders and are a recipe for success.
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease. The provision of support to countries will end the pain and suffering due to rabies that burdens people, especially children. Investing in rabies control and elimination strengthens health systems, improves equity and access to health care and contributes to sustainable development. Investment in rabies elimination is not only for elimination of this fatal but preventable disease but also for building capacity in the world's most neglected regions. This report, requested by countries, provides hands-on guidance to drive progress towards rabies elimination.