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Inside Makueni County's fight against rabies

September 27, 2018
Collins Ogutu
for Chams Media Digital

MAKUENI COUNTY-Priscillah Mutindi walks into Makueni County Referral Hospital reeling in pain. Her face tells it all, the agony of pain from an open wound on her right foot is evident. At 82, seeking treatment at a hospital due to a dog bite is the last thing she expected. But it happened. Her visit to a neighbour’s home in Kiima village, Mbooni Constituency, turned into a nightmare. A battle against pain and drain.

Inside Makueni County's fight against rabies 1

Priscillah Mutindi said she didn't expect to be bitten by her neighbour's dog. PHOTO | SOPHIA NG'ANG'A


She is a case study in our continued episode of Better Lives for Dogs on The Chamwada Report that aired on Thursday ahead of World Rabies Day on September 28th. The theme of the campaign was "United Against Rabies."

Part one of this story focused on why dogs roam around, what it takes to be a responsible dog owner and why dogs too, against all the odds, deserve humane treatment. You can read the story here.

Inside Makueni County's fight against rabies 2

82-year-old Priscillah Mutindi having her left leg dressed by a medic at the Makueni County Referral Hospital on Tuesday. PHOTO| SOPHIA NG'ANG'A

In the second episode, we pitch camp in Makueni County whose dog population is about 120,000 according to a recent survey. Here, we interact with dog owners, health officers from the County Government and World Animal Protection. The County Government of Makueni is racing against time to vaccinate over 70 per cent of that population to eliminate or prevent rabies, the most dreaded virus emanating from stray dogs.

Luckily, the dog that bit Priscillah did not have rabies, and she is now completing the required vaccination and monitoring by doctors. Remember rabies is not curable.

Bretta Mutisya, Makueni County health promotion officer says there were at least 749 dog bites in that region between April 2017 and August 2018.

Statistics also indicate that rabies kills about 60,000 people globally. In Africa, the figure stands at 24,000 according to World Animal Protection while in Kenya, the dreaded virus kills 2000 people, that is about five deaths a day.

However, Dr Emily Mudoga, the companion animal manager at the Animal Protection believes there has been tremendous progress in creating awareness about dogs and responsible ownership in Makueni County.

“In Makueni, I gauge it as a progress because we have ended up with outcomes that we never thought we would have,” she told Chams Media.

The campaign to reach out to the community in the county on better lives for dogs and awareness about rabies is also on a notch higher.

“As a health promotion officer, we reach out to the community using various strategies and educate them about rabies prevention, we tell every household with a dog to ensure their dogs are vaccinated,” said Bretta Mutisya.

Also on the show are two dogs, Bruno and Simba. Both of whom are at the centre of awareness creation on responsible dog ownership in Kathonzweni ward.

Catch The Chamwada Report that aired on KTN News Channel on Thursday in the video attached.

More comprehensive report follows....


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