The Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) tool was developed through a joint effort of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), to provide a standard mechanism for countries to assess their rabies situation and measure progress in eliminating the disease. Because the African continent has the highest per capita death rate from rabies, and Ethiopia is estimated to have the second largest number of rabies deaths of all African countries, Ethiopia undertook a self-assessment by means of the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) tool. In February 2016, the Ethiopian government hosted an intersectoral consultative meeting in an effort to assess the progress that has been made towards the control and elimination of canine rabies. The SARE assessment identified a number of critical gaps, including poor inter-sectoral collaboration and limited availability and access to dog vaccine, while the existence of a surveillance system for rabies and legislation for outbreak declaration and response were among the strengths identified. The SARE tool enabled key criteria to be prioritized, thereby accelerating the National Strategy and ensuring that Ethiopia will progress rapidly in line with the goals set by the global community for the elimination of human rabies deaths by 2030. Although the analysis showed that Ethiopia is still in the early stages of rabies control (Stage 0.5/5), the country shows great promise in terms of developing a SARE-guided National Rabies Prevention and Control Strategy.
Keywords: Elimination; Ethiopia; One health; Rabies; Stepwise approach.
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