Community Perception towards Traditional Healers and Health Centers on Management of Dog Bites and its Relation with Veterinary Public Health Activities
Journal of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry
A survey was conducted to investigate whether the community uses traditional healers or modern health centers after exposure to dog bites and veterinary public health responses on the issues in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. Two stage cluster and simple random sampling procedures were employed to select inhabitants and other target study population for this study. The data were collected from 300 permanent inhabitants, 75 physicians, 28 veterinarians and 10 directors and vice directors of health
... s of health centers/hospital through personal interview face to face using pre-tested structured questionnaires. Among the permanent inhabitants, 36.9% faced one or more incidents of dog bite in their family in past twelve months. Out of those victims the majority (42.45%) used treatment by traditional healers. The majority (60.6%) of the respondents (both victim and non victim families) accepted the practice of traditional healers. Statistically significant difference (P<0.05) was observed between; residents living area, economic statues, educational level and the choice of treatment (traditional healers, health centers or both) for dog bite. Statistically significant difference (P<0.05) was also observed between; purpose of keeping dog, vaccination practice, reason not to vaccinate, economic status and residents' living area. Analysis of data from directors/vice directors of health centers revealed higher proportion (70%) of directors/vice directors believe that veterinarians should be very much involved in zoonoses education for the patients. It was also confirmed by large proportion (60%) of officials that there was no health center/institution/hospital with a department specifically working on zoonoses in the area. Smaller proportions (40%) of directors/vice directors of health centers/hospital responded there were zoonoses departments in health centers, but without public health veterinarians. In the conclusion, this study confirmed the high preference common use of traditional healers to modern health centers for rabies suspected dog bite management. Besides, the study revealed a very minimal role of veterinary public health in the area. Strong participatory education about the risk of dog bites and rabies should be given to the residents of the area. Domestic dogs serve people in many important ways; guarding property and domestic livestock, assisting the blind and other disabled people, performing search and rescue missions, acting as sled animals, detecting explosives and drugs etc  . Attitudes regarding dogs greatly vary according to socio-cultural and religious background. Dogs are used ubiquitously for guarding and this role is appreciated even by those people whose religious belief deems them as impure  . In Ethiopia many households own dogs usually for guarding and entertaining in urban; herding and hunting in rural community  . But, no formal data available about the dog population at national level, usually estimated one owned dog per five household  and dogs are poorly managed especially in rural community and vaccination of dogs against rabies is limited to only capital city of nation and few regional towns.