Prioritization of capacities for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies in the Americas: building the framework

The region of the Americas pledged to eliminate dog-transmitted human rabies by 2015. After 30 years of sustained efforts, regional elimination appears possible as dog-mediated human rabies cases are at an all-time low, and a number of countries and territories have already eliminated the disease. In this setting, there is an opportunity to generate a framework to support countries strategies in the achievement and maintenance of rabies-free status (RFS). To this end, we describe the development of a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) model to help the evaluation of rabies programmes and the identification of the best investment strategy for countries and territories to improve and efficiently maintain their rabies status. The model contemplates human and animal related capacities, six in each area, to comprehensively assess the wide scope of rabies programmes. An initial elicitation of expert opinion of values and weights for the MCDA model was performed via a web-based questionnaire. Even at this pilot stage, the model produces comparable capacity-scores, and overall (combined for public and animal health areas) as well as area-specific investment strategies. The model is being developed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) as part of the regional efforts towards dog-mediated human rabies elimination and will be presented to the countries for review, refinement, contextualization, and testing. The aspiration is that countries use the model to identify the best allocation of resources towards the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies.