Dog ownership practices and responsibilities for children’s health in terms of rabies control and prevention in rural communities in Tanzania

Sikana, L., Lembo, T. , Hampson, K. , Lushasi, K., Mtenga, S., Sambo, M., Wight, D. , Coutts, J. and Kreppel, K. (2021) Dog ownership practices and responsibilities for children’s health in terms of rabies control and prevention in rural communities in Tanzania. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 15(3), e0009220. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009220) (PMID:33690720) (PMCID:PMC7946275)

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Interventions tackling zoonoses require an understanding of healthcare patterns related to both human and animal hosts. The control of dog-mediated rabies is a good example. Despite the availability of effective control measures, 59,000 people die of rabies every year worldwide. In Tanzania, children are most at risk, contributing ~40% of deaths. Mass dog vaccination can break the transmission cycle, but reaching the recommended 70% coverage is challenging where vaccination depends on willingness to vaccinate dogs. Awareness campaigns in communities often target children, but do not consider other key individuals in the prevention chain. Understanding factors related to dog ownership and household-level responsibility for dog vaccination and child health is critical to the design of vaccination strategies. We investigated who makes household decisions about dogs and on health care for children in rural Tanzania. In the Kilosa district, in-depth interviews with 10 key informants were conducted to inform analysis of data from a household survey of 799 households and a survey on Knowledge Attitudes and Practices of 417 households. The in-depth interviews were analysed using framework analysis. Descriptive analysis showed responsibilities for household decisions on dogs’ and children’s health. Multivariate analysis determined factors associated with the probability of dogs being owned and the number of dogs owned, as well as factors associated with the responsibility for child health. Dog ownership varied considerably between villages and even households. The number of dogs per household was associated with the size of a household and the presence of livestock. Children are not directly involved in the decision to vaccinate a dog, which is largely made by the father, while responsibility for seeking health care if a child is bitten lies with the mother. These novel results are relevant for the design and implementation of rabies interventions. Specifically, awareness campaigns should focus on decision-makers in households to improve rabies prevention practices and on the understanding of processes critical to the control of zoonoses more broadly.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: LS, KH, TL, JC, MS: Field research was funded by a grant by the UBS Optimus Foundation to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control who coordinated the overall programme (“Communities Against Rabies Exposure”, CARE). The Tanzanian component of the CARE project was coordinated by the University of Glasgow and Ifakara Health Institute. LS, KK, SM: Funding for Master’s studies (Lwitiko Sikana) and preparation of the article was received from the DELTAS Africa Initiative [Afrique One-ASPIRE /DEL-15-008]. Afrique One-ASPIRE is funded by a consortium of donors, including the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating (NEPAD) Agency, the Wellcome Trust [107753/A/15/Z] and the UK government. DW: was funded through the MRC’s Complexity in Health grant MC_UU_00022/1. KL: Received no funding. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Daniel and Kreppel, Dr Katharina and Sikana, Mr Lwitiko and Lembo, Dr Tiziana and Sambo, Dr Maganga and Coutts, Mrs Jane and Lushasi, Mr Kennedy and Hampson, Professor Katie and Mtenga, Dr Sally
Creator Roles:
Sikana, L.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Lembo, T.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Writing – review and editing
Hampson, K.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Writing – review and editing
Lushasi, K.Writing – review and editing
Mtenga, S.Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Sambo, M.Writing – review and editing
Wight, D.Conceptualization, Writing – review and editing
Coutts, J.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Writing – review and editing
Kreppel, K.Formal analysis, Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Sikana, L., Lembo, T., Hampson, K., Lushasi, K., Mtenga, S., Sambo, M., Wight, D., Coutts, J., and Kreppel, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1935-2735
Published Online:10 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Sikana et al
First Published:First published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 15(3):e0009220
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit