Gearing up for the 2nd rabies campaign

Life may seem simple in a village, but the yearly calendar is a considered sequence of activities related to farming, schooling, festivals and other types of work. It is important to make sure that activities run through the VEVEP project tie in carefully with communities’ occupations and priorities.

This year we decided to hold the rabies campaign a little later after World Rabies Day.  We are delighted to hear that the District Agriculture and Forestry Office is also including rabies vaccination as part of their National Vaccination Day to be held in mid November.

Our new Veterinarian and Livelihoods Officer, Dr Fabienne Uehlinger, is working closely with the team at Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Laos, to prepare for the campaign. Planning involves steps like writing to all village chiefs about the campaign, mobilising Primary Animal Health workers (PAHWs) to provide estimated dog counts for each village, sourcing adequate doses of vaccine, and holding refresher trainings with all participating members to review procedures and feel comfortable before the event.

A successful clinic involves coordinated efforts between all team members to vaccinate the dogs, provide vaccination certificates, ask dog owners to complete a simple knowledge survey, and provide important information to all dog owners about bite prevention and treatment and rabies prevention.  The campaign will start on 24th November – and we hope to reach even more dogs than last year!

(Image from WHO, WSPA, World Rabies Day poster in Lao)



Hands on in the farm

Today saw a culmination of intensive planning as the training for volunteer Primary Animal Health Workers (PAHWs) is finalised. During consultations and village visits in 2009, it became clear that there is a high demand amongst local farmers for greater veterinary support. With her wealth of experience, volunteer vet Dr Anne Drew and I have therefore been working with a fantastic team from the National University of Laos (NUOL) to put together a programme that will cover the necessary vet basics and provide PAHWs with new skills and knowledge to apply in their local setting.
We practised some training techniques today as students from the Faculty of Agriculture observed Anne Drew and faculty member Mr Sisavath demonstrate cattle handling and management skills.
NUOL has been working hard over the last few weeks to introduce the project to local communities and has recruited a motivated team of 33 volunteers to take on the role of Primary Animal Health Workers in their villages. Next week we will carry out a baseline survey in the villages which will put us in good stead to ensure our training covers priority animal health issues in the area.

– Sonia Fevre