Animal welfare and veterinary charity Mayhew had good reason to celebrate this World Rabies Day, as their team in Kabul, Afghanistan, had their second year with zero recorded cases of canine-mediated rabies in humans in Kabul.
Prior to Mayhew’s work, focusing on neutering and vaccination of the dog population – with more than 110,000 dogs vaccinated and more than 40,000 neutered since 2016 – there were on average 38 human deaths a year from rabies in Kabul alone. Mayhew’s team was forced to suspend its operations in Kabul for safety reasons in August 2021, as Kabul fell to the Taliban, but soon received permission to resume their work.
“That there have been no confirmed cases of rabies in dogs in Kabul since April 2021 and no recorded cases of deaths in humans is a real achievement”
Dr Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, Mayhew’s Afghanistan Country Director, says, “We know that vaccinating dogs is the most effective and humane way to eliminate rabies. That’s why the team has worked with such dedication over these past years to save the lives of dogs and of the residents of Kabul.
“Raising awareness about dog behaviour and bite prevention for both children and adults is an essential part of our work as it not only reduces the risk of harm but also provides a better understanding of how people can live more harmoniously with the dogs in their communities.”
Caroline Yates, Head of International Projects and Relations at Mayhew, adds, “We’re very grateful to have had the support of Dogs Trust Worldwide, Edgard Cooper Foundation and other donors who have enabled Mayhew to fulfil its objectives in Afghanistan.
“That there have been no confirmed cases of rabies in dogs in Kabul since April 2021 and no recorded cases of deaths in humans is a real achievement to be marked on World Rabies Day 2023, especially as the theme this year is ‘All for 1, One Health for all’. The game-changing work delivered by Mayhew’s team in Afghanistan reflects the importance of collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to eliminate the disease.”