Huge turnout at free rabies vaccination

By Gerald Tenywa

There are a number of vaccines available that are both safe and effective.

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PIC: Sister Harriet Mungono (right), a health worker at Makerere University Hospital, vaccinates Dr. Moses Mwanja, a senior veterinary officer at the agriculture ministry against rabies at the UVA offices on Friday in Kampala. (Credit: Shamim Saad)

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Veterinary doctors convened at the premises of Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) along Buganda Road in Kampala for free vaccination against rabies.

The two-day operation, which started on Friday, also attracted para-vets and students of veterinary medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Makerere University.

There are a number of rabies vaccines available that are both safe and effective. They can be used to prevent rabies before and for a period of time after exposure to the virus.

The most common lethal bites are from rabid dogs and bats.

A person who is exposed and has never been vaccinated against rabies should get four doses of rabies vaccine – one dose right away, and additional doses on the 3rd, 7th, and 14th days.

UVA president Sylvia Baluka said vaccination against rabies is important for vets and dog owners. (Credit: Shamim Saad)


The doctors who were vaccinated (176 on Friday and 110 on Saturday) are expected to return for another dose  this Friday.

The anti-rabies vaccine costs sh35,000 per dose.

“We have given an opportunity to the vet doctors and the para-vets as well as students to access free vaccination against rabies,” said Sylvia Baluka, the president of UVA.

And according to her, it is because vets are exposed to dogs and so they are a priority group to protect.

Baluka, who is a lecturer at the School of Veterinary Medicine, also appealed to the public and dog owners to vaccinate against rabies.

She described rabies as one of the neglected diseases.

Where to get treatment from

The victims of suspicious dog bites can access treatment from Mulago Casualty Ward, Norvik, Rubaga and Mengo hospital, The Surgery and Entebbe Grade A hospital.

Regional referral hospitals across the country offer treatment to people who have been bitten by dogs.

They also offer prevention measures (vaccination), Dr. Abubaker Mayanja, a veterinary doctor, told New Vision.

“Dog bites often happen at night and that is why it is important to get initial treatment from private hospitals because they are open during the night and then get the rest of the treatment from a government hospital,” adds Mayanja.