Healthy coexistence: Tanzanians encouraged to take responsibility for preventing zoonotic diseases

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Dar es Salaam. The Government of Tanzania, through the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Breakthrough ACTION project, joined the global community in observing World Zoonosis Day, utilizing the occasion to engage Tanzanians in discussions about zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and promote joint efforts to prevent and control these diseases.

World Zoonosis Day honours the pioneering work of Louis Pasteur, who successfully administered the first rabies vaccine on July 6, 1885. This annual observance is a reminder that zoonotic diseases remain a significant public health challenge, with recent statistics showing that 60 percent of all outbreak-causing diseases originate from animals.

"We are urging Tanzanians to take responsibility for their health by adopting good hygiene practices, seeking medical attention if they suspect they have contracted a zoonotic disease, and reporting sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities," said Dr. Salum Manyatta, assistant director for One Health at the Prime Minister's Office. 

Six zoonotic diseases have been prioritized in Tanzania due to their significant impact on the community: rabies, anthrax, brucellosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg and Ebola, zoonotic influenza, and human African trypanosomiasis/sleeping sickness.

Experts emphasize that a holistic One Health approach is necessary to address these diseases effectively. "Rabies is a major concern due to its high fatality rate and high incidence among children," said Dr. Manyatta.


Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted through various routes, including direct contact with infected animals, contaminated food consumption, improper food handling, and inhalation of particles, bites and scratches from infected animals. "Consumption of meat that has not been properly cooked and unsupervised handling of dead animals can lead to the transmission of diseases like anthrax," highlighted Dr. Stanford Ndibalema, Assistant Director for Veterinary Public Health at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.


To combat these diseases, the Government has launched a national campaign dubbed "Holela Holela Itakukosti" to facilitate discussions about zoonotic diseases and promote preventive measures among the general public. The campaign aims to encourage Tanzanians to take responsibility for their health by adopting good hygiene practices, seeking medical attention if they suspect they have contracted a zoonotic disease, and reporting sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities.


"This campaign is crucial in raising awareness about zoonotic diseases and promoting preventive measures among the general public," said Dr. Manyatta. "By working together, we can prevent these diseases from spreading and ensure a healthier Tanzania."


The public is urged to adopt positive preventive and treatment behaviors such as vaccination of animals, proper cooking of food, and proper handling of dead animals. "We have been encouraging people to report any sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities," said Dr. Ndibalema.

Healthy coexistence: Tanzanians encouraged to take responsibility for preventing zoonotic diseases

The Government of Tanzania, through the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Breakthrough ACTION project, joined the global community in observing World Zoonosis Day, utilizing the occasion to engage Tanzanians in discussions about zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and promote joint efforts to prevent and control these diseases.

World Zoonosis Day honours the pioneering work of Louis Pasteur, who successfully administered the first rabies vaccine on July 6, 1885. This annual observance is a reminder that zoonotic diseases remain a significant public health challenge, with recent statistics showing that 60 percent of all outbreak-causing diseases originate from animals.

"We are urging Tanzanians to take responsibility for their health by adopting good hygiene practices, seeking medical attention if they suspect they have contracted a zoonotic disease, and reporting sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities," said Dr. Salum Manyatta, assistant director for One Health at the Prime Minister's Office. 

Six zoonotic diseases have been prioritized in Tanzania due to their significant impact on the community: rabies, anthrax, brucellosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg and Ebola, zoonotic influenza, and human African trypanosomiasis/sleeping sickness.

Experts emphasize that a holistic One Health approach is necessary to address these diseases effectively. "Rabies is a major concern due to its high fatality rate and high incidence among children," said Dr. Manyatta.


Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted through various routes, including direct contact with infected animals, contaminated food consumption, improper food handling, and inhalation of particles, bites and scratches from infected animals. "Consumption of meat that has not been properly cooked and unsupervised handling of dead animals can lead to the transmission of diseases like anthrax," highlighted Dr. Stanford Ndibalema, Assistant Director for Veterinary Public Health at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.


To combat these diseases, the Government has launched a national campaign dubbed "Holela Holela Itakukosti" to facilitate discussions about zoonotic diseases and promote preventive measures among the general public. The campaign aims to encourage Tanzanians to take responsibility for their health by adopting good hygiene practices, seeking medical attention if they suspect they have contracted a zoonotic disease, and reporting sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities.


"This campaign is crucial in raising awareness about zoonotic diseases and promoting preventive measures among the general public," said Dr. Manyatta. "By working together, we can prevent these diseases from spreading and ensure a healthier Tanzania."


The public is urged to adopt positive preventive and treatment behaviors such as vaccination of animals, proper cooking of food, and proper handling of dead animals. "We have been encouraging people to report any sudden animal deaths to veterinary professionals within their communities," said Dr. Ndibalema.