Barriers and opportunities for canine rabies vaccination campaigns in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Prev Vet Med. 2021 Feb:187:105256. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105256. Epub 2021 Jan 4.


Background: Canine rabies is endemic in Ethiopia and presents a significant burden for both animal and human health. We investigate barriers to dog vaccination in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These results can be utilized to improve and target future rabies control efforts.

Methodology/principle findings: During May of 2017, dog owners were surveyed during a free canine rabies vaccination programs that utilized both door-to-door (DtD) and central point (CP) vaccination methods. Surveys collected information on preferences for rabies vaccine delivery and were administered in Amharic. A total of 1057 surveys were completed. Of those surveyed, 62.4 % indicated that their dogs had been vaccinated against rabies within the last year. Commonly reported barriers to vaccination were a lack of awareness that dogs required rabies vaccines (18.1 %) and lack of knowledge about where to find vaccine (15.0 %). The median price owners were willing to pay for vaccination was 25 birr ($0.91 USD) and the median distance willing to travel was 1.0 km; however, 48.9 % of those surveyed during DtD were unwilling to travel at all. We identified 3 classes of respondents who were grouped due to their responses by latent class analysis: 'the Unaware', 'the Vaccinators', and 'the Multiple Barriers'.

Conclusions/significance: Although many respondents were willing to pay for rabies vaccine (94.0 %); the preferred cost (median) was less than the actual cost of providing the vaccine. This supports the need for reduced-cost or free vaccine to achieve and sustain the 70 % vaccine coverage target threshold for canine rabies elimination. Additionally, a significant portion (41.5 %) of those surveyed indicated that they were unwilling to travel in order to have their dog vaccinated. The latent class analysis provides useful guidance on how to reach target vaccination. Owners from 'the Unaware' group made up 18.1 % of respondents and their high rate of allowing their dogs to roam identifies them as a prime target for canine health and behavior education. 'The Multiple Barriers' owners reported lower degrees of dog roaming and were substantially more likely to be found by DtD campaigns, possibly because they have limited ability/interest in handling their dogs. These results demonstrate the importance of incorporating DtD vaccination as well as subsidies to maximize vaccine coverage in Addis Ababa.

Keywords: Canine rabies; Disease transmission; Free-roaming dog; Rabies control; Vaccination coverage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dogs
  • Ethiopia
  • Immunization Programs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rabies / prevention & control
  • Rabies / veterinary*
  • Rabies Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination / veterinary*


  • Rabies Vaccines