Work continues on a rabies-free future

November 06, 2023 | 15:28
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Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim, along with Eco-Business, unveiled its 'STOP Rabies' whitepaper at the Federation of Asian Veterinary Association (FAVA) Congress on November 4 in Malaysia.
Industry experts convene to unlock a rabies-free future for Southeast Asia

After more than 130 years since the first rabies vaccine, the disease remains a significant threat worldwide. About 40 per cent of rabies victims are children, and almost 60,000 people die every year.

Rabies remains endemic in 150 countries and 3.3 billion people are at risk globally, with Southeast Asia remaining a particular hotspot.

Factors contributing to rabies infections include large populations of free-roaming, unvaccinated dogs; low vaccination rates among pets and strays; limited resources and access to animal vaccines; and cross-border rabies transmission.

The whitepaper supports Boehringer Ingelheim’s ongoing STOP Rabies efforts, as do the like-minded stakeholders who gathered at the FAVA Congress. The complexities of rabies control, explored in a panel session during the congress, also affirms the need for collaboration across sectors and borders to help the region advance.

Kam Kok Yen, head of Animal Health of Boehringer Ingelheim Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia said, “Rabies can be completely preventable through initiatives that focus on education, dog vaccination, and surveillance. By understanding the rabies landscape, we can pursue a collaborative approach that involves governments, non-governmental organisations, veterinarians, pet owners, and the wider community to drive progress towards a rabies-free Southeast Asia and improve health outcomes for both humans and animals.”

Farina Mustaffa Kamal, head of Veterinary Pathology and Microbiology at Universiti Putra Malaysia added, "It is time for a unified approach that draws on the strengths of various social components. Investing in rabies control strengthens our healthcare system, improves access to care, and contributes to sustainable development."

Industry experts convene to unlock a rabies-free future for Southeast Asia

Jerlyn Sponseller from Boehringer Ingelheim highlighted some key solutions to stop rabies. "Community education builds greater awareness and knowledge of rabies and dog-bite prevention while surveillance monitors dog vaccinations, dog bites, and rabies cases," she said.

Building on over 30 years of experience working in rabies prevention and management, Boehringer Ingelheim’s 'STOP' Rabies initiative reinforces the company’s mission to improve global health. By contributing its expertise to the rabies effort in Southeast Asia and around the world, Boehringer proves itself to be an advocate for meaningful advances towards eliminating the disease.

Eco-Business is the Asia-Pacific region's largest media and business intelligence organisation dedicated to sustainable development and environmental, social, and governance performance.

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By Nguyen Huong

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