While most of us wait for an opportunity to present itself, some hold it by its horns and make way for greatness. The people from Mission Rabies are on one such, tireless mission. A team of veterinarians and volunteers have recently reached Goa to eliminate rabies, the deadly disease that takes millions of lives, both human and canine, each year. For four whole weeks, Mission Rabies will be undertaking mass vaccinations of dogs in Goa. The good news is that the government of Goa has agreed to part-fund this programme, allowing the team to vaccinate the entire state in a month-long massive drive.
This is interesting because two years back, the very first place that Mission Rabies had begun vaccinating dogs from was Goa itself. “We've worked there continuously since then, vaccinating over 41,000 dogs across the state and sterilising more than 20,000 in an intensive 6-month programme last year. During that period, our expert teams also humanely euthanized 77 rabid dogs,” reads a post on their Facebook page.
Currently, over twenty teams consisting of 150 staff and volunteers have reached Goa and can be seen in their signature yellow tees, unrelenting in their efforts to get every dog vaccinated. In fact, having started on Monday, the teams have already vaccinated around 1600 dogs in 24 hours. That is 1 dog every 27 seconds.
And they can really do with your help. “Apart from spreading the word about the work we do, one can also encourage the governments to take action in fighting rabies through mass vaccination, because that is the only proven way of eliminating this vicious disease,” says Frédéric Lohr, international liaison and publicity officer, Mission Rabies.
Veterinarians can also volunteer with the group and help out with various ongoing projects in India. “India is one of the biggest rabies hotspots in the world. A recent study suggested that there are more than 59,000 human deaths due to rabies globally and 35% occur in India alone,” Lohr says.
Mission Rabies has also had a successful pilot vaccination programme in Ranchi, Jharkhand, where they treated over 23,700 dogs in a span of 10 months. Interestingly, their India ambassador is none other than Sakshi Dhoni, Ranchi’s prodigal son and ace cricketer MS Dhoni’s wife.