Cote d’Ivoire: MSc fellow Rose Delima N’Guessan engages institutions and communities in the fight against rabies

5 October 2020

Afrique One-ASPIRE is a pan-African consortium for research capacity building in the “One Health” concept. For its fight against zoonoses, the consortium has a thematic training program on canine rabies elimination, including fellows from several African countries. The objective of its research is to fill the knowledge gaps in the understanding of the epidemiological, social, political and cultural factors that influence the effectiveness of interventions for the prevention, control and elimination of rabies.

Within this framework, Rose Delima N’GUESSAN, one of the fellows in Côte d’Ivoire, is currently carrying out activities to promote the involvement of institutions and communities in the fight against rabies. She conducted a scientific study on the knowledge of those affected by and involved with rabies in the country’s San-Pedro district. Rose investigated the level of knowledge on rabies, perceptions, and reasons for not vaccinating dogs as well as consequences for victims and the level of involvement in the fight against rabies of dog owners, victims of dog bites and scratches and animal and human health professionals. The results from this research showed that communities have a low level of knowledge about rabies and a negative perception of the rabies vaccine. This is not conducive to pet vaccination and compliance with the lifesaving post-exposure prophylactic treatment for humans that were exposed to rabies.

Rose Delima N’GUESSAN’s study discovered that affected communities prefer to use traditional treatment options for rabies bites, which promote non-adherence to conventional treatments for the disease. Difficulties were also observed regarding the collaboration and the community’s involvement in the fight against rabies. These results were presented to the general public and to the actors of the animal and human health system through participation in conferences, workshops and radio programs. To strengthen her capacity, the fellow has taken part in training courses organized by Afrique One-ASPIRE and institutions such as the World Animal Health Organisation, the National Institute for public hygiene and the Veterinary Services Directorate).

Today, in collaboration with human and animal health institutions, the Afrique One-ASPIRE fellow sensitizes communities to rabies and contributes to capacity building of animal and human health workers and teachers.

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