Pune City Set to Become Rabies-Free by 2030: A Pioneering Health Initiative

Pune City Set to Become Rabies-Free by 2030: A Pioneering Health Initiative**

Pune City Set to Become Rabies-Free by 2030: A Pioneering Health Initiative**

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Pune, July 11, 2024 — Pune is on the path to becoming the first rabies-free city in Maharashtra by 2030, thanks to a comprehensive initiative led by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and supported by the central government. The campaign emphasizes the sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs, coupled with extensive public awareness efforts.

“According to the policy of the central government, the goal of making Pune city rabies-free by 2030 has been set,” stated Dr. Sarika Funde, Chief Veterinary Officer, PMC. To achieve this ambitious target, a dedicated task force has been established within the health department of the PMC, focusing on sterilization and vaccination programs.

Rabies, a viral disease caused primarily by dog bites, is a serious health concern as there is no cure once symptoms appear. Preventive measures, including timely medical treatment and vaccination, are crucial. “There is very little awareness about medical treatment after dog bites. Therefore, six people died in Pune city last year and as many as 52 people died outside the city due to rabies,” Dr. Funde highlighted.

The rabies eradication campaign is part of a broader initiative by the central government, aiming to make both Pune and Mumbai rabies-free by 2030. Various organizations, including the Blue Cross Society, Animal Welfare Association, and Universal Animal Welfare Society, play a significant role in this effort by sterilizing and vaccinating stray dogs. Over the past six and a half years, these institutions have sterilized 57,474 dogs and administered anti-rabies vaccines.

Pune has witnessed a high incidence of dog bites, with 35,973 cases reported in the last one and a half years. From January to June this year alone, 12,985 residents were bitten by dogs. In response, the PMC ensures the availability of free anti-rabies vaccines at Kamla Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi main hospitals, and 50 municipal clinics. “Anti-rabies vaccine is available free of cost to the patient,” Dr. Phunde confirmed.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system, causing severe symptoms and often leading to death if untreated. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that once the virus reaches the brain, the patient may fall into a coma or die, with some experiencing paralysis.

The central government has initiated the Rabies-Free India campaign, with Pune and Mumbai selected for the first phase. Dr. Phunde revealed that a budget of 1.5 crore rupees has been requested from the central government to procure anti-rabies vaccines. “The aim is to make Pune city the first rabies-free city in the state by 2030,” she emphasized.

The PMC’s robust plan underscores the importance of collaborative efforts between government bodies, health departments, and animal welfare organizations to achieve a significant public health milestone.

Joyville