While rabies is not something that most Canadians think about very often, it continues to be a daily concern for people living in other parts of the world where the disease kills nearly 150 people every single day. Sadly, over 55,000 people die annually – mostly children in Africa and Asia – from a disease we know how to prevent. With effective programming, community education and community involvement, the global rabies problem is solvable.
Today, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are joining together to recognize World Rabies Day. Veterinarians without Borders – Canada (VWB/VSF) is encouraging everyone to spread the word about rabies and help raise global awareness about this deadly disease.
Last year, the Veterinarians without Borders’ Rabies Campaign helped to fund a number of rabies prevention programs including partnering with the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls and Rotary District 7090 to support Veterinary Practitioners Without Borders Uganda (VPWB-Uganda) to deliver a rabies awareness campaign in the Masaka District of Uganda.The Anti-Rabies Campaign was carried out over two days and comprised of an education component which engaged elementary and secondary school aged children. VPWB-Uganda ran a vaccination program on the second day followed with more public engagement for community members. This video shows highlights from VPWB’s 2010 World Rabies Day activities.
This October, VWB/VSF will run our first rabies education and prevention campaign in Laos, where rabies is endemic and considered a priority zoonosis. The campaign will target 11 villages near Vientiane where VWB/VSF has trained and worked with local paravets for the last two years. As well as a vaccination program for dogs, the campaign aims to raise awareness about dog poplulation management, bite treatment and primary care. The VWB/VSF team will also conduct a baseline dog population count and observe dog behaviours and issues around free-roaming dogs. Follow the team’s activities on the blog.
Click here to learn more about VWB/VSF’s rabies prevention programs.
To date, VWB/VSF has raised and dispersed over $150,000 towards rabies prevention projects around the world, including projects in Guatemala, India, Malawi, northern Canada and Uganda. But there is still a lot of work to be done!
Today, 150 people and countless animals will die needlessly from this disease. With your help, tomorrow will be a different story. Support VWB/VSF’s rabies programs and Help Make Rabies History!
* Top photo courtesy of Dr. Alex Wandeler.