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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Dec 3;9(12):e0004221. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004221. eCollection 2015 Dec.

Incentives Increase Participation in Mass Dog Rabies Vaccination Clinics and Methods of Coverage Estimation Are Assessed to Be Accurate.

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School of Life Sciences, The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania.
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.
Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Illinois at Chicago. The Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, United States of America.
Serengeti Health Initiative (SHI), Serengeti, Tanzania.
Genome Science Centre and Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania.


In this study we show that incentives (dog collars and owner wristbands) are effective at increasing owner participation in mass dog rabies vaccination clinics and we conclude that household questionnaire surveys and the mark-re-sight (transect survey) method for estimating post-vaccination coverage are accurate when all dogs, including puppies, are included. Incentives were distributed during central-point rabies vaccination clinics in northern Tanzania to quantify their effect on owner participation. In villages where incentives were handed out participation increased, with an average of 34 more dogs being vaccinated. Through economies of scale, this represents a reduction in the cost-per-dog of $0.47. This represents the price-threshold under which the cost of the incentive used must fall to be economically viable. Additionally, vaccination coverage levels were determined in ten villages through the gold-standard village-wide census technique, as well as through two cheaper and quicker methods (randomized household questionnaire and the transect survey). Cost data were also collected. Both non-gold standard methods were found to be accurate when puppies were included in the calculations, although the transect survey and the household questionnaire survey over- and under-estimated the coverage respectively. Given that additional demographic data can be collected through the household questionnaire survey, and that its estimate of coverage is more conservative, we recommend this method. Despite the use of incentives the average vaccination coverage was below the 70% threshold for eliminating rabies. We discuss the reasons and suggest solutions to improve coverage. Given recent international targets to eliminate rabies, this study provides valuable and timely data to help improve mass dog vaccination programs in Africa and elsewhere.

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