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Evaluation of animal rabies surveillance system, Sunyani West District- Ghana, 2019

Bonodong Zongnukuu Guri
Helena Acquah
Delia Akosua Bandoh
Charles Lwanga Noora
Basil Benduri Kaburi
Saviour Denueme
George Kuma Khumal
Edwin Andrew Afari
Ernest Kenu


Introduction: Rabies is an important global public health concern causing 70,000 human deaths annually. In Ghana rabies is endemic and costs more than 16 million dollars annually. Ghana has both human and animal rabies surveillance systems to monitor the incidence and inform prevention and control measures. We evaluated the animal rabies surveillance system in Sunyani West District (SWD) to assess its attributes, usefulness and system performance in meeting its objectives.

Methods: The CDC updated guidelines for evaluating public health surveillance systems was adapted in this evaluation. We extracted and reviewed rabies data for 2014-2018 from veterinary and human records in SWD. We interviewed key stakeholders on the operations and attributes of the system. We performed summary descriptive statistics on quantitative data and direct content analysis on qualitative data.

Results: SWD recorded 14 dog-bites/suspected rabies cases at the veterinary office for the period with one confirmed outbreak. All veterinary staff at SWD (4/4) involved in rabies surveillance knew the case definition and could complete the case investigation forms within 10 minutes. However, most 92.9% (13/14) case investigation forms were incompletely filled. Health workers interviewed said they referred all dog bites cases to veterinarians. However, referrals were done verbally through the victim. No community assessment for unreported animal bites was done.

Conclusion: The animal rabies surveillance system is meeting its objectives by detecting an outbreak. It is useful, simple, and sensitive but has poor data quality and not acceptable. Strengthening the One-Health approach will be required to improve the overall performance of the system.

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eISSN: 2664-2824