In response to the increased number of human deaths from rabies in Thailand this year, Mission Rabies was keen to work with the government to protect the communities of Chiang Mai. Upon the kind invitation of Chiang Mai Municipality, San Pong municipality and Khi Lek municipality, Mission Rabies, in combination with WVS Thailand (locally known as WVS Care for Dogs), has been conducting a mass vaccination campaign against rabies in these regions. Over 2600 animals have been immunized in the first 3 weeks. This number is expected to top 3000 by the end of the campaign on June 15.
Mission Rabies veterinary nurse vaccinates community dog, as WVS animal handler tags
the animal with permanent red marker. San Pong Municipality.
A collaboration between the US Centers for Disease Control, Merck Animal Health and Mission Rabies saw the donation of 50,000 rabies vaccinations to the Thailand Livestock Department. A ceremonial handover of these vaccines took place on May 30th 2018 in Bangkok.
Amy Lewis, Mission Rabies Programmes and Research Intern and Thailand Project Manager says, “Mission Rabies is hugely grateful for the opportunity to work with the local municipalities of Chiang Mai. With the success of this campaign, we hope to continue working with the Thai government towards the common goal of rabies elimination in Thailand by 2020.”
Our vaccination teams, consisting of WVS and Mission Rabies staff as well as municipal volunteers, have been walking up to 15km per day vaccinating as many animals as possible in all corners of the municipalities. We then have post-vaccination teams surveying the area to ensure the rabies vaccination coverage is above 70% of the population, which is the level required to protect a community from rabies. So far, we have exceeded requirements, with an average vaccination percentage of 78% (range: 64-82%).
Using the WVS Data Collection Application, we are able to collect a wide variety of information about the animals we are vaccinating, including GPS location, method of catching and health status. We will then use this information to enhance the efficiency of our future work, tailoring each project to the specific requirements of each area.
Completed San Pong District, each colour represents a separate Moo Ban, each marker a vaccinated dog or cat.
Alongside the Mission Rabies vaccination campaign, WVS Thailand is running a free sterilisation clinic for cats and dogs within the Mae Rim area. This clinic is located at the San Pong Municipality headquarters and will run from 28th May to 8th June.
According to Khun Thawan Puangbupha, director of the public health and environment division, this has been a very good example of seamless collaboration between local government and and private organizations, in line with the guidance of HRH Princess Chulabhon toward combatting the spread of rabies and reducing the stray animal population.
Mission Rabies was established in 2013 by their sister charity, Worldwide Veterinary Service. Mission Rabies began their work in India with a pilot programme vaccinating over 60,000 dogs in just 1 month in 14 cities across India. Since then, Mission Rabies has expanded to vaccinating in India, Malawi, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Uganda, working within government infrastructure and employing local people with the aim of reducing human deaths from dog-mediated rabies.
In response to the challenges posed by a mass vaccination programme, A WVS Data Collection Application was developed. This state-of-the-art technology enables project managers to remotely monitor field team’s activity and easily analyse data collected through a user-friendly website.
WVS Thailand, a sister charity to Mission Rabies and a member of Worldwide Veterinary Service, has been working in Chiang Mai since October 2015. WVS Thailand operate a shelter (formerly Care for Dogs), a treatment and sterilisation clinic and an International Training Center for veterinary professionals. WVS Thailand also frequently conducts veterinary outreach clinics throughout the region. Last year, WVS Thailand trained 153 Veterinarians and vet assistants, sterilised 5,084 animals and treated 564 animals.
Mark Stelzner (Media coordinator WVS Thailand)
PHOTOS: WVS/Mark Stelzner
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