Kenya Open Data Awards 2016

On the evening of 25th November, 2016 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, the Inaugural Kenya Open Data Awards were held. The competition was set up to recognize both individuals and organizations who have provided innovative solutions: solutions that made it easier for users to access and use information on various platforms such as websites apps and blogs.

Rabies Free Kenya won 3rd place in the Social Impact category out of a total of 90 nominations in the same category.



The Kenya World Rabies Day celebrations happened on September 28th 2016 in Mombasa. This day brought various stakeholders together in one venue to enhance dialogue on Rabies elimination efforts in the country.

Some of the presentations given on that day include Implementing the Kenya rabies elimination  strategy by Dr.  Sam Thumbi, Trends in Rabies research by Dr.  Peninah, Munyua , Rabies diagnosis at Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Mariakani and Update of rabies elimination in Makueni by Dr. Daniel Ksee.  Apart from presentations, dog vaccinations and post-vaccination surveys are some of the activities that happened during the day. Here are some photos that highlight some of the activities that happened.




Dog Ecology Study undertaken in Siaya

The vision of having a Rabies Free Kenya is currently underway, with the National Rabies Elimination Strategy officially launched in the second county in Kenya. Following Makueni’s  footsteps, Siaya’s recent launch of the County and Sub-County Rabies Elimination Coordination Committees is a step in the right direction. This progressive step embraces the importance of collaborative efforts aimed at rabies elimination and signifies the importance of adopting One Health based strategies.

Prior to the launch, a dog ecology study was conducted to understand the epidemiology, ecology and population of dogs as well as the knowledge, attitudes and practices of both owners and non-owners of dogs. The survey composed of two parts as recommended by the World Health Organization. The first section was primarily on demographic information for both dog and non-dog owners. The second section touched on various topics such as dog management and care, household dog population, vaccination status of dogs and dog bite information.

Sample questionnaires will soon be available and will aid interested researchers to develop their studies in a manner that is both culturally and scientifically appropriate. These tools were adopted from the Canine Rabies Blue print which provides example tools utilized in KwaZulu-Natal where like Kenya, the domestic dog is the primary host and vector that maintains the rabies virus.

The data for the study is currently being critically analyzed and will aid in the development of Rabies related interventions in Siaya and other counties.

Residents of Bondo turned out in large numbers for the dog vaccination exercise

 Dog vaccination exercise during the Siaya County and Sub-County rabies elimination committee launch


Team discussion after a hard day's work at the field conducting dog ecology studies in different wards in Siaya

Team discussion after a hard day’s work at the field conducting dog ecology studies in different wards in Siaya


Team is all smiles as they set out to collect dog ecology data in the field!!

Team is all smiles as they set out to collect dog ecology data in the field


Team photo as they walk to the next random household during the dog ecology study

Walking to the next random household during the dog ecology study

Kenya launches National Committee to eliminate Rabies by 2030


Kenya has launched the National Rabies Elimination Coordination Committee to oversee efforts to control and eliminate rabies.

Earlier this month on August 5th, the National Rabies Elimination Coordination Committee (NRECC) Launch was held. This committee is part of Stage 1 of the Rabies Elimination strategy which entails the planning of implementation of rabies elimination activities in pilot counties.

The NRECC’s purpose is simple –  to bring together different sectors within government, non-government organizations, teaching and research institutions, international partners and the public to aid in rabies elimination efforts. This launch therefore signified the official start of collaborative efforts to oversee efforts to control and eliminate rabies with the vision of eliminating the deadly disease in Kenya by 2030.

The launch was well attended by Kenyan government representatives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries as well as various other stakeholders from relevant organizations that are key to ensuring the success of rabies elimination efforts.

An important remark by the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko, was the need to kick rabies out of Kenya by ensuring that vaccines are available at the grassroots level. This is especially important for Rabies is a neglected disease that mostly affects the poor and vulnerable populations. His remarks are in line with the strategy’s main principle which is quite straightforward: vaccinate at least 70% of the dog population each year – for at least three years – to ensure the disease is eliminated, in dogs, humans and wildlife.

With NRECC launched now, we hope to systematize Rabies control and elimination efforts in the country. Though it is a long journey ahead, we are determined to ensure that Kenya is Rabies Free by 2030.

For more information on the National Rabies Elimination Strategy, visit


Launch of the National Rabies Elimination Coordination Committee on August 5th 2016

Launch of the National Rabies Elimination Coordination Committee on August 5th 2016

My first encounter with Rabies

My first encounter with rabies is one that affected a family member and will forever be etched in my mind. In 2011, Priscilla, my grandmother, was lucky to have her 7 year old nephew, Edgar*, visit her family.  One evening during his stay, he was unfortunately bitten by Priscilla’s dog. No one thought the bite was serious, therefore no proper wound care was done and no hospital visit was made for post exposure vaccination. Days later, Edgar exhibited excitation symptoms including attempts to bite other children.  The dog developed aggressive behaviors including eating her puppies before it died. Edgar developed complications and was rushed to hospital but died a day after admission.

There are many questions that come to mind when thinking of how Edgar’s life was cut short by rabies.

  • Did they not seek appropriate treatment due to lack of awareness or ignorance?
  • Was it possible to prevent his death from rabies?
  • What does the community know and perceive about rabies?
  • What is the role of the national and county government, non-governmental organizations as well as the community in effective rabies prevention and control?

In my opinion, every individual has a role to play in rabies prevention and control. Rabies is 100% preventable by vaccination in both humans and animals. Mass dog vaccination and responsible dog ownership can reduce the rate of rabies infection in endemic areas, preventing human cases of rabies. This is not possible without information dissemination to the communities on rabies prevention and control geared towards elimination.

Edgar’s death should serve as an example of the need of more efforts geared towards rabies prevention and control. It is possible to have a RABIES FREE Kenya.


By Dr. Josephine Nekura Ndiwa

Note – Edgar’s name was changed for privacy.

For more information on rabies elimination activities in Kenya, visit ZDU

Dr. Ndiwa is a veterinarian by profession. She is undertaking her Msc. in Epidemiology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious diseases, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). She is currently involved with Dog Ecology work with the Zoonotic Disease Unit.