Mission Rabies has vaccinated 300,000 dogs since the charity started and its rabies education programme has reached a staggering 350,000 children to date.
Education is a large part of the Mission Rabies focus alongside vaccination, surveillance and sterilisation. Talking to vets about the importance of vaccination, informing local communities on what to do if they get bitten by a rabid dog and ensuring charities can continue the important work started by Mission Rabies, is all part of the charity’s holistic approach.
Fred Lohr, international liaison and publicity officer at Mission Rabies said: “We have a training centre in India that works with over 300 vets per year. It’s been so successful that there aren’t any rabid dogs within a 2-hour radius, proving that the education programme really works.” In part this is down to working with the local veterinary community – almost 80 vets have been trained by the charity – and this is an ongoing part of the mission – to leave local and national projects better off.
As well as education and vaccination, the charity’s other areas of focus or ‘pillars’ as they refer to them, are surveillance and sterilisation. A helpline phone number has been set up in Milawi for local communities to use if they need to report a rabid dog. Information is given and where necessary collection of the dog is arranged.
Sterilising dogs to control the animal population in order to avoid widespread culling is another project the team are undertaking. A sterilisation programme begins in Milawi next month when 1,200 dogs will be operated on to prevent the ineffective practice of culling.
One of the main areas of success for Mission Rabies has been in Goa where the Government is now behind the programme and has taken over 50% of the project in order to rid the country of rabies entirely. It’s this partnership between the Goan Government and the public to jointly protect their society of the disease that Mission Rabies wants to see replicated in countries across the world.
“Our aim this year is for 30,000 dogs to be vaccinated in Milawi, 5,000 in Uganda and Sri Lanka and 10,000 within a month in Goa. Rabies is a 100% preventable disease but it can also be 100% deadly. With global collaborations the goal to rid the world of rabies by 2030 is more than possible,” Fred concluded.
Mission Rabies is always looking for vets, vet nurses or students to help fulfil their projects. If you think you can help visit www.missionrabies.com