Afghanistan Could Be on the Verge of a Breakthrough to Wipe Out Rabies

An animal charity has announced that their efforts to eradicate rabies in Afghanistan is on the verge of a massive breakthrough.

Last year, K9 Magazine shared details of Mayhew’s plans to promote animal welfare and improve the lives of dogs living in the war-torn country and today Mayhew Afghanistan has announced that they have vaccinated an incredible 10,500 dogs through their mass canine rabies vaccination programme in the capital city of Kabul.

This means that 7 in 10 dogs living in Kabul have now been vaccinated against rabies and according to the animal charity, this means that they have now reached the accepted threshold required to reach in order to break the chain of virus transmission and can start creating herd immunity in the area where the vaccination programme is happening.

It means that the Afghanistan team, together with the Kabul Municipality dog catchers, are on track to reduce the risk of canine-mediated rabies in the city.

Following Mayhew’s successful negotiations with Kabul Municipality to bring an end to the inhumane practice of culling the free-roaming dogs from January 2017 and with signed agreements with the relevant ministerial departments and city authorities in place, on 6th August 2017, Mayhew Afghanistan began implementing the first mass canine rabies vaccination programme in Kabul, which covers the main 16 residential districts in the city.

This is the first step in a long-term and sustainable strategy to eradicate rabies from the city in three years and develop a citywide dog population management programme.

The two teams of 12 dog catchers and vet vaccinators work from early morning around 5am to noon, catching and vaccinating dogs. The surveyor then goes out within 72 hours to the designated areas to count the number of vaccinated dogs, compare it with the total number of dogs in that area and ensure the level of at least 70% of the population has been vaccinated.

Mayhew’s Afghanistan Country Director, Dr Abdul Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, said: “The team are delighted that the programme has now vaccinated 70% of the population of dogs in Kabul in just over 10 months.

“A new dog population survey has recently been completed and this will provide data for the amount of dogs to be vaccinated as a minimum in year two of the mass canine rabies vaccination programme and be the basis of the dog population management plan.

“We believe that informing and educating communities about the rabies virus and other infectious diseases and how they are spread is key to rabies prevention, safe interaction with community dogs, compassion towards animals and improved health. A win win situation for dogs and people alike.”

Mayhew International receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from supporters to continue helping, training and funding vaccination programmes and animal birth control projects for thousands of animals around the world.

The task is huge and the charity still needs your help. Please consider a donation by visiting www.themayhew.org/donate, so they can continue their vital work in Kabul, stating your donation is for Afghanistan.

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