Service-learning and community engagement yields benefits in zoonotic disease control: the case of rabies control in Mbuya II Zone in Kampala, Uganda

Article Authors: Joshua Isiko, Samuel George Okech, Berna Nakanwagi, Samuel Majalija, David Okello Owiny, Margaret Khaitsa, John Baligwamunsi Kaneene, Florence Wakoko



Introduction: rabies has been classified by The World Health Organization as one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases, a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affect more than one billion people, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year. These diseases mainly affect populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock. Many of the Neglected Tropical Diseases including rabies, are zoonotic, affecting both humans and animals. In Uganda, rabies incidence is steadily increasing, a sign that the traditional control measures may not be effective. This underscores the need for exploring alternative control measures. The objective of this study was to evaluate a new model in the control of rabies in a suburban community in Uganda.
Methods: in this case study, we integrated service-learning, servant leadership, inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary and community engagement into a community intervention. The activities involved, integrative community education exercises and mass vaccinations of dogs and cats against rabies utilizing expertise of students and professionals in human and animal health. A post-intervention interview of a sample of twenty community members was carried out. Data were analyzed using inductive content analysis and categorized into emerging themes.
Results: qualitative data analysis revealed a positive impact in the community including, an 80% pet vaccination coverage against rabies, and extensive students┬┤ involvement.
Conclusion: an integrated collaborative community engagement with service-learning approach was an effective strategy to control rabies.

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Volume 27
Issue No. 3
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