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01.04.2004 Regional News

Ghanaians urged not to pay for treatment for dog bites

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Saltpond (C/R), April 1, GNA - The Mfantseman District Rabies Control Committee was on Wednesday inaugurated with a call on medical officers who charge exorbitant fees for treatment for dog bites to desist from the practice since such service are free of charge.

Dr A.N.A. Ayitey, Central Regional Veterinary Development Officer who gave the advice called for the control of the disease, which he described as a "serious public health hazard."

Dr Ayitey said the unwillingness of some owners to vaccinate their pets and the inadequate public education on the dangers that rabies posed to the society were the greatest challenges rabies control committees should tackle. "Everybody is at risk", he said adding that one does not have to own a dog or a cat to get bitten.

He said records indicated that about 90 per cent of people bitten by rabid dogs were either neighbours or visitors in the vicinity. Dr Simpson Anim Boateng, Mfantseman District Director of Health Services said though rabies like AIDS had no cure, care should be taken in the education campaign in order not to create fears in the public which could scare them away from patronising the vaccination exercise.

Mr Peter Omega, Acting District Director of Agriculture said though there had been no outbreak of the disease in the Mfantseman District the people should not be complacent but work hard to sustain the record.

Mr Alfred T.A. Ahumah, District Co-ordinating Director who inaugurated the committee assured the members of incentive package if they worked hard to ensure success of the vaccination exercise. He urged them to apprehend and destroy pets, which were not vaccinated after the end of the exercise. The last time a nationwide anti rabies vaccination exercise was organised was in 1998.

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