Dr. Geoffrey Akabua, Deputy Director of Veterinary Services in Charge of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, on Tuesday, appealed to licensed chemical sellers to direct people who report to them with dog bite complaints or cases suspected to be rabies, to the nearest hospital and appropriate health facilities.
He strongly cautioned them against attempts to provide any form of treatment or vaccination to such victims stating licensed chemical sellers were not mandated to perform such functions, it’s illegal to do so.
Dr Akabua was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Dormaa Ahenkro on the sidelines of training of some selected poultry farmers, over-the-counter medicine sellers (OTCMS), veterinary medicine sellers, feed millers/producers in Dormaa Central Municipality on implementation of the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance Policy.
The training was organised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and sponsored by World Health Organisation (WHO).
He lamented the attitude of some doctors and medical practitioners who refused to send reports on people who reported at their health establishment with suspected cases of rabies to the vet officers in the districts or communities, to enable them track, trace and identify the said dogs and investigate for signs of rabies
“Rabies is a viral disease. It’s prevented by vaccination both in animals – dogs and in cats and humans. The human and animal rabies vaccines are not the same. They are different. So in case of any dog bite, licensed chemical sellers should not attend to the victims they should do first aid if they can by washing the spot of the bite with running water.
“If they can’t they should send the victim to the hospital. Any attempt by a licensed chemical dealer to inject a dog bite victim is punishable, it’s detrimental will lead to the person’s death. What they normally do is they give anti-tetanus serum which is caused by bacteria and cant fight against viral infection. There shouldn’t be any attempt at all at treating the victim who visits their shops. If you give the person anti-tetanus serum the person get the confidence that he has been vaccinated and dies,” he emphasised.
The Deputy Director of Veterinary Services said the investigations carried out by the vet officers to detect possible signs of rabies will inform and guide the medical practitioners on whether to go in for the human rabies vaccine or not.
“The human rabies vaccine is not common and not anything licensed chemical dealers can have access to. So they should stop deceiving victims, and report it to the hospital,” he noted.
Dr Akabua said doctors in consulting room were not mandated in any way to inspect rabies vaccination certificates of pets or companion animals including dogs and cats but it is the duty of the vets.
Dr Brian Asare, Technical Officer, Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Health stated that some expected outcomes on the training for participants include what antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is, the causes of AMR, how to curb or control AMR and why the concern about AMR in human and animal health and the impact.
Speaking on the topic, Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial stewardship in human health, Dr Asare added that microbes develop abilities to transfer, share characters and strength to each other leading to the development of resistance against microbes.
He urged the participants to drink clean water frequently, ensure good and proper hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and regular exercise to develop strength against AMR.
Giving an overview of Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial stewardship in Human Health, Prof. Kwame Ohene Buabeng, Head Department of Pharmacy Practice, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said AMR is a global issue that poses a great threat if “we continue to misapply and misuse antibiotics available”.
He urged chemical sellers to avoid the habit of been driven by money and guard against procuring poor storage, substandard drugs, noting fighting AMR is a shared responsibility that calls for the involvement of all to address the issue.