Turning the spotlight on the fight against rabies

The WSAVA veterinary community is making a difference globally

World Rabies Day 2015 took place on Sunday 28 September 2015.  It is the one day of the year when the world's attention is focused on devastation caused by this dreadful disease. Through the work of our Vaccination Guidelines Group, the One Health Committee and the WSAVA Foundation's AFSCAN project, we are mobilizing our global veterinary community to work alongside the major international organizations spearheading global rabies control with the target of eliminating rabies by 2030. 

But it's not just at a Committee level that we can make a difference, many of our member associations are working to combat rabies in their regions, including the Philippine Animal Hospital Association (PAHA) which is working with the government and leading voluntary associations (see Members' Corner), the Society of Companion Animal Practitioners (SCAP) in Sri Lanka through its work with the Blue Paw Trust; the Veterinary Practitioners Association of Nepal (VPAN) which works with the One Health Alliance in Nepal and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of Thailand through its involvement with the Responsible Pet Owner project.

At an individual level, we can also all help. Our partner Global Alliance Against Rabies (GARC) has developed a free online course to support the dissemination of accurate, life-saving information regarding rabies to at-risk communities throughout the world.

Dr Edgardo Unson with his Rabies Educator CertificateDr Edgar Unson, President of the Philippine Animal Hospital Association (PAHA),has just taken the course.  He says:"As a vet, I was familiar with some of the content but I still found the course very useful - especially the sections focusing on dealing with rabies at a grass roots level.  It really highlighted how important it is to be prepared, equipped and coordinated to be most effective.  Sometimes this can be overlooked as it is easy to focus on our own individual programs and to forget to make plans based on best practices and with the necessary coordination and communication built in.

"The course only took me 1.5 hours and was definitely worthwhile so I would certainly recommend it to fellow WSAVA members.  Small animal practitioners today must be involved in rabies elimination. It is far too big a job for one group to tackle on their own.  We must all step up, learn about rabies elimination, influence our own groups and communities and then work together to achieve our goal.

"At PAHA, for instance, we have initiated collaboration with our fellow local veterinary groups , private practitioners , the national government Bureau of Animal Industry(BAI ), local government units and NGO's to run a coordinated, synchronized project in the Quezon City District of our capital city, Manila,  where rabies is unfortunately still present. We are aiming to do this in March 2016 and hope then to replicate it across the Philippines."

Take the GARC Rabies Educator Certificate

Read the WSAVA's press release for World Rabies Day

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