Dr Abdul Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, Mayhew’s Afghanistan Country Director, has won this year’s Animal Hero Awards’ Special Recognition Award for his dedication and innovative work helping thousands of animals in Afghanistan.

The Daily Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards, in association with the RSPCA and Webbox, recognise and celebrate “the most inspiring examples of bravery, dedication and resilience in the animal world”. 

Dr Mo, as he became known at Mayhew, trained as a vet at Kabul University, graduating at an unfortunate time – just as the Taliban seized power. Dismissing veterinary science, they destroyed the University’s veterinary facilities. Dr Mohammadzai fled to the UK in 1997 and began volunteering at Mayhew, eventually working full time in London and then back in his homeland as their Country Director for Afghanistan – a role which has seen him devise and implement the first ever dog population survey in Kabul, as well as supporting the rebuilding of the clinic at Kabul University. 

“After Mayhew was established as an NGO in Afghanistan in August 2016, Dr Mo instigated and negotiated a ground-breaking agreement with Kabul City Authorities to end the cruel culling of street dogs in Kabul,” a Mayhew statement says.

“He has developed an animal welfare strategy incorporating rabies prevention and control and dog population management programmes, negotiating with the Afghan Government to roll out the initiatives in Kabul and across Afghanistan in the long-term. With signed agreements with the relevant ministerial departments and city authorities in place, on 6th August 2017, Mayhew Afghanistan began implementing the first mass canine rabies vaccination programme in Kabul.

“So far Mayhew Afghanistan has vaccinated over 12,000 dogs through their mass canine vaccination programme in the capital city of Kabul. The figure is important as it is 70% of the dog population in Kabul that has now been vaccinated against rabies. This percentage figure is the accepted threshold required to break the chain of virus transmission and start creating herd immunity in the area where the vaccination programme is happening.”

Upon receiving the award, Dr Mohammadzai said, “It is a great pleasure to receive this year’s Animal Hero Awards’ Special Recognition Award. It means a lot to me, and I’m very happy and delighted.

“I want to say thank you to our dedicated team in Afghanistan for their dedication and hard work, without them, we wouldn’t be able to implement our mass canine rabies vaccination programme in Kabul. I also would like to say thank you to everyone who nominated me and my family who have supported me in this journey.”

Mayhew’s CEO, Caroline Yates, added, “We are incredibly proud of Dr Mo and all that he has so far achieved. He is determined to improve animal welfare and veterinary standards in Afghanistan and to help the Afghan people and communities.

“For over 15 years, Dr Mo has volunteered and worked at Mayhew, devoting his knowledge and care to help thousands of animals and fulfilling his dream of making a change for good, both for animals and people in his homeland. This award could not have gone to a more deserving person.”

Images courtesy of Mayhew

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