OBJECTIVES: Dog vaccination can eliminate rabies in dogs, but annual delivery strategies do not sustain vaccination coverage between campaigns. We describe the development of a community-based continuous mass dog vaccination (CBC-MDV) approach designed to improve and maintain vaccination coverage in Tanzania and examine the feasibility of delivering this approach as well as lessons for its optimization.
METHODS: We developed three delivery strategies of CBC-MDV and tested them against the current annual vaccination strategy following the UK Medical Research Council's guidance: i) developing an evidence-based theoretical framework of intervention pathways and ii) piloting to test feasibility and inform optimization. For our process evaluation of CBC-MDV we collected data using non-participant observations, meeting reports and implementation audits and in-depth interviews, as well as household surveys of vaccination coverage to assess potential effectiveness. We analyzed qualitative data thematically and quantitative data descriptively.
RESULTS: The final design included delivery by veterinary teams supported by village-level one health champions. In terms of feasibility, we found that less than half of CBC-MDV's components were implemented as planned. Fidelity of delivery was influenced by the strategy design, implementer availability and appreciation of value intervention components, and local environmental and socioeconomic events (e.g. elections, funerals, school cycles). CBC-MDV activities decreased sharply after initial campaigns, partly due to lack of supervision. Community engagement and involvement was not strong. Nonetheless, the CBC-MDV approaches achieved vaccination coverage above the critical threshold (40%) all-year-round. CBC-MDV components such as identifying vaccinated dogs, which village members work as one health champions and how provision of continuous vaccination is implemented need further optimization prior to scale up.
INTERPRETATION: CBC-MDV is feasible to deliver and can achieve good vaccination coverage. Community involvement in the development of CBC-MDV, to better tailor components to contextual situations, and improved supervision of activities are likely to improve vaccination coverage in future.