Mission Rabies, a UK-based international NGO, is a partner of the WSAVA Foundation. It has had an exceptionally busy first half of 2016 with a number of projects around the world. Thanks to the generous support of major donor Dogs Trust and with help from the WSAVA Foundation, Mission Rabies aims to prevent thousands of human rabies deaths each year by eliminating canine rabies from global hotspots through programmes of mass dog vaccination and surveillance, supported by education programmes targeting the most at-risk. Its two major projects in India – one in Goa State, West India and one in Ranchi City in the North-East – have been running since 2013 with its volunteer teams vaccinating more than 75,000 dogs annually across the two locations. The good news is that, since starting its work in India, Mission Rabies has seen a dramatic decline in canine rabies cases, with no cases reported in Ranchi for over a year and cases in Goa falling by 60% within the last year!
In Malawi, Southern Africa, the Mission Rabies team returned for their second annual mass vaccine drive across the entire city of Blantyre in May. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre had reported a rising incidence of paediatric rabies cases, which motivated it to launch a programme there in 2015. This year, building on the success of last year’s project, the Mission Rabies team vaccinated over 35,000 dogs in just 20 days, ensuring that 80% of the city’s dogs were vaccinated – exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommendations for herd immunity. This intensive vaccination drive was supported by a unique initiative where UK-based street artist, Louis Masai, painted images of healthy, vaccinated dogs on the walls of schools, with the campaign slogan, ‘Tithetse Chiwewe’ (‘Let’s End Rabies’), as a striking visual reminder for school children of the life-saving messages of the rabies risk reduction education programme and to promote positive images of dogs as companions.
Kate Shervell, Mission Rabies’ International Director, says: “Vaccination of dogs is the most effective means of preventing human rabies deaths, as the vast majority of cases are contracted from a rabid dog bite. We're grateful to the WSAVA Foundation for the support in this 'One Health' initiative, and look forward to the day when no-one loses their life to this devastating, yet, preventable, disease.”
For more information about Mission Rabies, or to volunteer, visit www.missionrabies.com