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Int Health. 2011 Dec;3(4):231-9. doi: 10.1016/j.inhe.2011.08.001.

Rabies control initiative in Tamil Nadu, India: A test case for the 'One Health' approach.

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Public Health Foundation of India, 4, Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070, India.


Although India accounts for nearly 50% of the global rabies mortality, there is no organised national rabies control programme. Rabies control is generally confined to small urban pockets, with minimal intersectoral co-ordination. Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to implement a state-wide, multisectoral rabies control initiative. The CDC Program Evaluation Framework guided the current assessment of this rabies prevention and control initiative in Tamil Nadu. Principle stakeholders were engaged through a series of interviews in order to document policy initiatives, to describe the programme and to understand their various roles. Surveillance data on dog bites were triangulated with vaccine consumption and dog population data to identify trends at the district level in the state. Findings and recommendations were shared at different levels. Rabies control activities in Tamil Nadu were conducted by separate departments linked by similar objectives. In addition to public health surveillance, animal census and implementation of dog licensing rules, other targeted interventions included waste management, animal birth control and anti-rabies vaccination, awareness campaigns, and widespread availability of anti-rabies vaccine at all public health facilities. In conclusion, this assessment suggests that it is possible to implement a successful 'One Health' programme in an environment of strong political will, evidence-based policy innovations, clearly defined roles and responsibilities of agencies, co-ordination mechanisms at all levels, and a culture of open information exchange.

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