With a third of all estimated human rabies cases occurring in India, the country is the world's hotspot for the disease.
In 2013 Mission Rabies launched in Goa, after the state was identified as an ideal location to set the standard for rabies elimination across India. Since our initial campaign in India - where over 60,000 dogs were vaccinated across 14 cities in just 4 weeks - our programme has grown from strength to strength. In collaboration with the local government, it has developed to encompass comprehensive vaccination, education and surveillance components, developing into a state-wide public health initiative.
Throughout the pandemic, our teams have continued to work tirelessly, finding new ways to ensure we continue to protect vulnerable communities from rabies. Whilst schools were shut, we have found alternative ways to promote education and public awareness - sharing educational messages online and conducting COVID-safe training for key workers. Despite the continued challenges posed by the global pandemic, in 2021 our teams vaccinated over 75,000 dogs across the state and provided over 200,000 children with the life-saving knowledge they need to protect themselves from the cruel threat of rabies.
Ground-breaking progress has been made in Goa over the past eight years, demonstrating that canine rabies elimination is feasible in India through mass dog vaccination. Since the beginning of 2018, there have been no human deaths from rabies across the state. Subsequently, June 2021 saw the landmark achievement of Goa being the first Indian state to be declared a “Rabies Controlled Area”, with the Indian government formally enforcing measures to control the disease. This is a huge step forwards and sets a precedent for other states to follow, with Goa now acting as a beacon of progress in the global effort to control this horrific disease.
Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand in North-East India was one of the original 14 vaccination checkpoints during our launch in September 2013. Over the past 8 years, through a close collaboration with HOPE and Animal Trust, we have continued to make great progress across the city. 2019 was no exception, with our teams covering the entire city to vaccinate 23,036 dogs and provide rabies education to 39,848 children!
In 2020, after 7 years of successfully vaccinating over 70% of the resident canine population, we have moved our focus in Ranchi to maintaining this hard work through robust surveillance efforts. Rabies surveillance is crucial to sustaining mass dog vaccination activities until canine rabies elimination is achieved. During 2021, the team also delivered rabies prevention lessons to over 200 primary school students and teachers, and 3,700 community members. These combined efforts have helped the city achieve zero human rabies deaths since 2017.
The Indian megacity of Bengaluru has an estimated canine population of just over 3 million. Every year, thousands of people are bitten by dogs, and each bite carries a potential exposure to the deadly virus. Our teams are providing crucial technical advice and expertise to the government to implement effective rabies control measures across the city. In 2021, over 99,000 dogs were vaccinated against rabies, in the first large-scale campaign of its kind in the city. With the support of Mission Rabies, the local hotline - India's second only dedicated rabies helpline - handled over 1,600 calls from concerned members of the public.
Mission Rabies, in partnership with our sister charity Worldwide Veterinary Service, operates a unique, all-terrain, mobile veterinary hospital in India. The All-Terrain Clinic (ATC) hosts outreach campaigns, training courses and mobile clinics around India - championing canine welfare through providing free veterinary resources in areas no other veterinary services can reach.
The ATC also acts as an incredible engagement tool, raising awareness and encouraging communities to talk about rabies, humane population control and canine welfare. In 2019 it made a special appearance at the Goa carnival, where our teams demonstrated their dog catching skills and spread our messages to the 70,000 people in attendance!
Throughout the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the ATC has once again demonstrated its unique versatility to direct veterinary services where needed, championing animal welfare in a time when the needs of animals were understandably pushed into the background. Despite the continued challenges, throughout 2021 the team worked tirelessly to sterilise over 2,600 dogs and to deliver training to 85 vets and veterinary assistants - ensuring the ATC continues ever forwards in our mission to facilitate a lasting impact on animal welfare and humane dog population management across the state of Goa.
At every project we work with amazing local animal charities that campaign and work tirelessly to make a difference.
These charities are the champions of Mission Rabies - have a scroll down and learn more about them here!
Helping Organisation for People, Environment and Animal Trust was registered on August 1, 2001 at Ranchi, Jharkhand as a non-profit organisation. The aims of the organisation are to work for the protection of the environment and animals, to control the increasing population of street dogs, to prevent their suffering and to help local communities by reducing poverty through farm animal welfare programes.
Since the organisation was formed, their priority was to reduce the number of dogs by sterilisation and to help the sick and injured. This vital work began in October 2007 and since then has Sterilized and Vaccinated more than 20000 dogs and bitches. With further support from other groups, they have increased the number of Spay and Neuter cases to 10000 a year.
They have fifteen full-time and two part-time paid staff and about ten active unpaid volunteers. HOPE Rescue and Rehabilitation Shelter for Animals at Khunti, 35 km from Ranchi has been built and this is run entirely by volunteers.
India Project for Animals and Nature (IPAN) is an animal welfare organisation dedicated to preventing cruelty towards animals, improving the health and welfare of domestic and wild animals, protecting the environment and by doing so, improving the livelihoods of people who depend on them. IPAN believes that 'Animal Welfare Means Human Welfare'.
Established in 1997, IPAN is a registered Trust, managed by a Board of Trustees and headed by the Managing Trustee Nigel Otter, a well-known animal activist in India who has received several awards for his dedication to animal welfare and nature conservation.
In the small village of Mavanalla, IPAN runs an animal shelter - the Hill View Farm Animal Refuge - but IPAN's work, especially in the humane animal handling and animal birth control programmes, are known far and wide outside the Nilgiris district as well.
Dogs Trust, WVS, Davies Veterinary Specialists, Covetrus, BSAVA, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, WSAVA, CDC, University of Edinburgh Technik Technology, Vipex, WTG, Pet Air, Mayhew International, BCF Technology, Centaur Services, AGM Telematics, AST, Daray Medical, Medimark Scientific, MSD Animal Health, Starleaf, University of Bristol, W&H, ABC India, A1 Animals Come First, Humane Animal Society, Animal Rescue Kerala, International Animal Rescue, Just be Friendly, IPAN, TOLFA, Indian Veterinary Association, AWBI, APCRI, VSPCA, Vets for Animals, iSAW, CARE, tiffinbox and IVSA.