Upper East has enough rabies vaccines – Dr Dzotsi
Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), says the Region has enough rabies vaccines at its medical store to manage dog bites.
“We have enough quantities at the Regional Medical Store for the populace to use. It is free, the most important thing is that the Clinician must certify the condition that it is a needed intervention,” he said.
The Director, at a one-day orientation workshop for journalists on risk communication on rabies, prevention and control in the Region, emphasized that “not every dog bite is from a rabid dog.”
The workshop was organised by the GHS in collaboration with the USAID, which brought together journalists from various media outlets across the Region.
Dr Dzotsi said the correct source of vaccines was health facilities, “Let’s give correct information to the public, for vaccines, the correct source is the facility because rabies vaccine is a cold-chain commodity. So right from its production outside the country, it is in cold-chain.
“Immediately it arrives at the airport, our cold van transports it to the national cold room and from there, they are transported to the Regional and District cold rooms in our cold vans. So there is no broken cold-chain,” he explained.
He said with health facilities, members of the public were assured of well preserved, quality and potent vaccines, and further advocated immediate medical attention if anyone had a dog bite, for early remedy, “Don’t apply anything to a dog bite wound.”
Per information at the Regional Health Directorate, the Region for the past five years recorded cases of dog bites across all Municipalities and Districts.
In 2018, six suspected cases of dog bites were recorded, two of the cases were from the Bawku Municipality, one from the Bolgatanga Municipality and three from the Bongo District, who all died.
All three suspected cases of dog bites, each from the Bolgatanga and the Kassena-Nankana Municipalities, and the Bawku West District recorded in 2019 died while five suspected cases, one from Builsa South, two from Builsa North and Bawku West respectively, also died in 2020.
In 2021, a suspected case from the Bolgatanga Municipality died, while in 2022, another suspected case was recorded in the Bawku West District with six follow-up dog bites from Garu.
According to the Directorate, the Bawku West case died, while the Garu cases were not clinically diagnosed.
Mr Robert Bayuo, the Regional Data Officer of the Veterinary Services Department, said domestic dogs constituted the major mode of rabies transmission.
“Dogs are the main sources of human rabies, but rabies remain one of the under reported tropical diseases that affect marginalised and vulnerable people. Rabies is under reported because it has a long incubation period.
“And so if you get a bite today, sometimes it can take you up to a year before the onset of the disease. So by the time the disease will be manifesting, you might have even forgotten the bite you had in the past,” Mr Bayuo added.