Systematic review of rabies research in Ethiopia

Rabies is endemic in Ethiopia, yet it is a neglected zoonotic disease. Ethiopia stands second in Africa with regard to rabies-related death and the disease is distributed in most areas of the country. To date, there is no comprehensive report on rabies research although there are several reports on its burden, economic impact and community awareness in the country.

This strongly points to a need to summarise rabies research in Ethiopia which is the main objective of this systematic review.  Furthermore, we aim to highlight major limitations of rabies research in Ethiopia (in terms of the methods and novelty), identify poorly reached areas in Ethiopia with regard to rabies research, and overall enhance political commitment to invest in rabies prevention and research. After a series of tasks such as literature search, inclusion/exclusion and full text retrieval, we are now at the stage of data extraction.

From the review so far, we understand small-scoped research such as going in to the community and doing incidence/burden assessment; awareness survey alone cannot solve rabies problem in Ethiopia. Rabies endemicity in Ethiopia has been proven, however the challenge is commitment and investment on its prevention. We also plan to pilot a rabies education among Ethiopian school children.

Hopefully our findings will point to these challenges and help researchers bring novelty into rabies research in Ethiopia. Overall, for our rabies project in Ethiopia, we believe this systematic review will serve as a ‘springboard’.