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Short Communication: Rabies post-exposure management in South Africa: a telephonic survey used as a rapid tool for operational research

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Rabies is an important disease in rural South Africa, and vaccine and immunoglobulin are provided, at the State's expense, to humans following suspected exposure to rabies virus by bite, scratch or mucosal splash. Health facilities where post-exposure treatment is available are listed, with contact telephone numbers, in national rabies guidelines. To verify the accuracy of this recently updated information, members of the national Rabies Advisory Group were tasked to complete a rapid survey. A simple standardized telephone interview technique was used. This revealed startling deficiencies in the availability of vaccine and immunoglobulin at the indicated sites and led to decisive corrective action. This `quick and dirty' survey technique provided valuable information for improving an important public health programme, and should be considered when auditing other health programmes, particularly where a means for validating responses is readily available.

Keywords: South Africa; operational research; post-exposure; rabies; telephonic survey

Document Type: Short Communication


Affiliations: 1: Communicable Disease Control, Mpumalanga Department of Health, South Africa, 2: School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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