August 9, 2017
On Sunday 6th August the first ever mass rabies vaccination programme for dogs started in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Mayhew International has been working with Kabul City authorities to plan and implement an animal welfare strategy encompassing a mass rabies vaccination and a humane Trap Vaccinate Neuter and Release (TVNR) programme.
At the beginning of the year (January 22nd), Mayhew signed a landmark agreement so that Kabul City authorities halted the cruel practice of culling street dogs through strychnine poisoning, a slow and very painful death for the dogs. Ever since, Mayhew’s Afghanistan Country Director, Dr. Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, has been busy setting up our NGO facilities and working with the Government and city authorities there to introduce and implement a long-term and sustainable animal welfare strategy.
Sunday was the first day of implementing the mass rabies vaccination programme, which will cover the main 16 districts in Kabul. Mayhew International would like to thank our wonderful supporters and the following organisations that have helped us make this life-saving programme a reality: Dogs Trust Worldwide, HSI, the team at WVS, Mission Rabies, HOPE & Animal Trust and MSD Animal Health, who have sponsored the rabies vaccinations for the project.
Dr. Mohammadzai DVM is employing local staff to help deliver the programme, including vets and other vet professionals who will work as vaccinators, surveyors and data recorders.
Crucial to the programme is humane dog catching. Kabul Municipality has a large team of dog catchers, previously used in the culling programme. Following an interview process to assess how they felt towards the dogs and their work, Mayhew International selected a group of these dog catchers for re-training in humane handling and restraint.
In June this year the Municipality dog catchers, accompanied by Dr. Mohammadzai DVM, received training in India from Humane Society International (HSI) in humane catching and handling techniques. It was the first time that the team has really interacted with dogs in a positive manner. After the training the team returned to Kabul to put their training into practice, and the Kabul team have gone on to train a further group of Municipality dog catchers in the humane techniques learnt.
During the first day of the mass rabies vaccination programme starting, a small team from HOPE & Animal Trust in Ranchi, India, were also on the ground in Kabul showing the team how to work on the streets and how to record data on the telephone app, which records and tracks the location of the dogs and how many have been vaccinated.
The pilot day was a huge success with a lot of interest from the locals and a good start to our target of vaccinating up to 15,000 dogs against rabies in Kabul, based on the statistics from the first ever Dog Population Survey, carried out by Dr. Mohammadzai DVM in Kabul in 2015. The first year of the vaccination programme will also include a further population survey to ensure we are on track.
Dr. Mohammadzai DVM said: “Our mass rabies vaccination programme is very much welcomed by the government and the people in Kabul. We presently have a team of 16 staff who are working on the field and for the initial days, a small team from Ranchi in India. Everybody is very supportive.”
“We believe that educating communities is the key to spreading the word about rabies prevention, safe interaction with community dogs, compassion towards animals and the benefits of neutering.”
For more than 10 years Mayhew International has funded an Animal Birth Control programme, which included mandatory rabies vaccinations as well as a Community Education initiative with HOPE & Animal Trust in Ranchi, India. To date the team there has neutered and vaccinated more than 63, 000 dogs in 8 years and educated over 300,000 children and adults. Ranchi is also one of the hubs for Mission Rabies in India and together with the intensive vaccination drives which Mayhew International and Dr Mohammadzai DVM has assisted with, there has been a huge reduction in the number of recorded cases of canine-mediated rabies in humans in Ranchi City, with only 4 cases during the last two years. This is a proven result for a rabies prevention model that we aim to achieve in Kabul.
Mayhew International will be continuing to work and collaborate with several government and non-government agencies to reach this goal of creating a safer and more secure environment for both the people and animals of Kabul.
Mayhew International receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from our supporters to continue helping, training and funding vaccination programmes and animal birth control projects for thousands of animals around the globe.
The task is huge and we still need more help, please consider a donation so we can continue our vital work in Kabul, stating your donation is for Afghanistan. Alternatively, you can make an instant donation by texting “MINT17 £5” or your chosen amount up to £10 to 70070.