First Mission Rabies campaign in Ghana vaccinates over 4,000 dogs in two weeks
In February 2019, Mission Rabies began its first ever project in Ghana, expanding its number of rabies elimination projects and reaching new regions at risk of this deadly disease.
Bosomtwe district drew the attention of the charity following a significant increase in dog bites in the district over the last three years and an enthusiastic Public Health District Director, Dr Moses Djimatey, who was determined to address the issue. The collaboration of the local officials under Djimatey’s leadership, alongside the involvement of the regional Veterinary Services Department (VSD), ensured a Mission Rabies vaccination drive was soon implemented in the district.
International volunteers joined the project and in just two weeks, the team vaccinated 4,370 dogs, reaching above the required 70% of the canine population to establish herd immunity and prevent the spread of the virus. This saves not only canine, but also human lives. With regular campaigns in this region tackling rabies at its source and ensuring the minimum 70% coverage remains, the disease will die out on its own. This is the aim of all of the charity’s proof of concept projects; to not only save lives but show the local governments how to implement these successful campaigns so they can utilise the methods at a national level.
Alongside the vaccination campaign, Community Health Officers (CHOs) from the Ghanaian Health Service were trained in delivering rabies awareness lessons. They played a crucial role visiting schools and communities, equipping people with the life-saving knowledge of how to protect themselves from the disease.
Mission Rabies record the number of dogs vaccinated and every school visited in a bespoke data collection app, developed together with its sister charity Worldwide Veterinary Service. 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 turns informs the charity’s future work. The App is also used by other government bodies and NGOs to record vital data and vaccination figures, spanning a multitude of animal welfare and One Health projects.
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 www.missionrabies.com