Reaching new regions at risk of the deadly disease, Mission Rabies began its first ever project in Ghana in February 2019 – vaccinating over 4,000 dogs in two weeks.
The charity’s attention was drawn to Bosomtwe district following a significant rise in dog bites over the last three years. Public Health District Director, Dr Moses Djimatey, was determined to address the issue. Under his leadership local officials, alongside the regional Veterinary Services Department (VSD), ensured a Mission Rabies vaccination drive was soon carried out in the district.
International volunteers joined the project and in just two weeks the team vaccinated 4,370 dogs, reaching above the required 70 per cent of the canine population to establish herd immunity and prevent the spread of the virus. With regular campaigns in the region tackling rabies at its source and ensuring the minimum 70 per cent coverage remains, the disease will die out on its own – saving the lives of dogs and humans alike.
Other than saving lives, the aim of the project is to show the local governments how to implement these successful campaigns so they can utilise the methods at a national level. Education is also a crucial method in the campaign, visiting schools and communities to equip people with the life-saving knowledge of how to protect themselves from the disease.
Developed together with its sister charity Worldwide Veterinary Service, Mission Rabies collects data in a bespoke app, recording the number of dogs vaccinated and schools visited. Vaccination figures and information about each dog is entered into the App, utilising smartphone technology to help with rabies and dog population research and ensure the campaigns are effective and measurable, which in turn informs the charity’s future work.
Luke Gamble, Mission Rabies Founder and CEO said, “Expanding into Ghana was an incredibly exciting time and we’re pleased to be able to support the enthusiastic officials that helped make this possible. I would like to thank Dr. Moses in particular for his drive and commitment to rabies elimination. Together, we can help ensure the communities of Ghana stay safe from rabies and we look forward to continually developing this project in the future!”
Mission Rabies also run projects in Malawi, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, the global hotspots for the disease, combining its vaccination campaigns with community education programmes. For more information on the work of Mission Rabies and their projects, visit their website.