GARC launched the End Rabies Now campaign in early 2015 to drive global action by setting a goal of zero human rabies deaths from dog rabies worldwide by 2030.
In December 2015, a global conference of international stakeholders endorsed this goal, with support from the leading international organizations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, then OIE). These organizations represent national governments through their Member States statutes.
The culmination of the subsequent two years’ work was the publication in 2018 of the Zero by 30 Global Strategic Plan, co-authored by GARC and the aforementioned organizations. This turned the goal into an agreed global strategy and was the first Global Plan that brought together international organizations from both human and animal health to develop a shared approach, representing a true One Health plan.
As a neglected disease, which requires the alignment of numerous actors, international progress is slow and steady. However, the Covid-19 pandemic struck a heavy blow and set rabies elimination efforts back years, as the vast majority of health resources were reallocated to fighting the pandemic and international momentum was lost.
Yet GARC witnessed during this period the same community-based organizations that supported the initial campaign, continuing to fight the disease as best they could to protect their communities against rabies. These organizations are the bedrock of any control and elimination program which requires surveillance, vaccination and education at the community level.
In August 2023, we launched the second phase of this campaign: Communities Against Rabies
While the Global Plan focused principally on international coordination, there was no clear plan to operationalize rabies control at the level most at risk – the community. Taking the lessons learnt from our community partners, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, Communities Against Rabies has set out to fill this gap.
The Communities Against Rabies initiative will unite a global grassroots movement to eliminate dog-transmitted rabies, empowering individuals, civil society and communities to control the disease through proven best practices and innovations in areas where it remains endemic.
Many photographers graciously donated their images to help us illustrate the close relationship between dogs and humans around the world. We are extremely grateful for their contributions to the End Rabies Now campaign, and we encourage you to explore the rest of their work.
Other copyright acknowledgments: Alex Hewitt (Alexander McCall Smith); Grant Squibb, courtesy of UBS Optimus Foundation; UNFAO