Mission Rabies was born out of a desire to make a difference to the lives of millions of people and dogs across India.
In 2002, Luke Gamble founded the charity, Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), with the aims of alleviating suffering and promoting the welfare and moral perception of animals around the world. Giving up his spare time to volunteer with the charity, Luke has seen, first-hand, the devastating effects of rabies on people and animals and was determined to do something about it. Many of the international animal welfare organisations that WVS work with have made huge strides in combating rabies through sustained vaccination of dogs, so Luke decided to harness these proven methods and join forces with WVS's vast network of animal welfare advocates to make a difference in India, the world's hotspot for rabies.
With the help of incredible sponsors like Dogs Trust, not to mention fantastic veterinary staff at the International Training Centre - established by WVS in Southern India and which has so far trained over 300 Indian vets in welfare-friendly neutering techniques - as well as a dedicated team back in the UK; Mission Rabies has developed from an idea into a reality which is set to save the lives of thousands of dogs and people across India.
Seeing the fear this disease creates in local communities and the needless cruel deaths of thousands of dogs, I knew I had to do something. As veterinary professionals, this is our opportunity to really give something back. Rabies can be stopped and we have the know-how to do it - we just need you to join us and make Mission Rabies a success.
Luke Gamble's worldwide ventures to help animals in need were featured in a 10 part TV series called Vet Adventures (Sky 1). In this clip Luke is in Costa Rica where scores of unwanted dogs are abandoned on an island...
In this scene, taken from the Nepal episode of Vet Adventures, Luke treats a dog diagnosed with a contagious form of cancer (TVT). These tumours are also incredibly common in Indian street dogs.
In this instance, the Nepalese rescue team don't have access to the drugs needed but ever-resourceful, Luke manages to track down a supply from a private human hospital... and saves the dog's life.
A baby sloth needs to be trained how to poo. At the Kids Saving the Rainforest sanctuary in Costa Rica abandoned baby sloths are raised and at some point they need to be taught the basics! It's important they're made to feel secure and they need to do a little 'dance' to stimulate things...
Luke Gamble tries his hand at the baby sloth poo dance.
Prof Day was a passionate supporter of Mission Rabies since the very beginning and served as a Trustee of the charity between 2015 and 2020.
A pathologist and One Health figurehead, Prof Day was instrumental in championing rabies elimination within the veterinary profession and beyond through his work as a lecturer at the University of Bristol, as well as through his various leadership positions in the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).
In recognition of and gratitude for his unwavering support of Mission Rabies' work in global rabies hotspots, he was awarded the Honorary Presidency of Mission Rabies in April 2020.
Director of strategic research
After working and researching in charity veterinary practice in the UK, Andy began working for Mission Rabies in 2013, initially as a volunteer, vaccinating dogs in Kolkata.
His previous experience using smartphone technology in the epidemiological setting in Zanzibar, Tanzania, transferred to work on rabies and he was tasked to developing a tailor made smartphone app to overcome challenges faced during mass dog vaccination campaigns. The app now has over 300,000 entries and is used in 7 countries. Andy drives the field strategy of Mission Rabies projects, develops surveillance protocols for testing rabid dogs and gathering data on intervention impact. Description of the 'Vaccinate-Assess-Move' methodology used in India was successfully published in December 2015.
He oversees the research activities of the charty and ongoing mobile technology developments. He is currently undertaking a PhD at The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh studying the methods and outcomes of mass dog vaccination and rabies surveillance.
Director of strategic Partnerships
A graduate from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Munich, Germany, Frederic joined the team in 2014.
During his studies he developed an interest in Veterinary Public Health and disease control. Whilst being president of the International Veterinary Students Association he established collaborations with international organisations like the OIE and conducted part of his rotations at FAO headquarters in Rome.
Overseeing the general management and operations of the charity, as well as the programme development, he is also focusing on establishing and maintaining key partnerships for Mission Rabies with international organisations and partners.
International projects manager
Amy joined us in August 2017 as a Programmes and Research Intern and now has a full-time position as International Projects Manager.
During her 5 years studying Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool, Amy spent as much time as possible volunteering for Mission Rabies from our first vaccination campaign in Kolkata, 2013.
Amy is part of the team responsible for planning and running our proof-of-concept international projects, analysing the data and refining our methods in these focused locations.
She has recently moved out to South East Asia to further rabies control efforts in the region.
Amy has a real passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures, but when she is in the UK, she loves nothing more than watching Welsh Rugby, practicing yoga and walking her black Lab, Stan.
Helena joined the team in October 2018 after having volunteered with Mission Rabies on a couple of our projects. She went on to complete an MSc with Edinburgh University in International Animal Welfare and has spent time volunteering on animal welfare projects in Sri Lanka, South Africa and Kenya.
Helena is involved in the general running and operations of the charity and is the first point of contact for all our volunteers when applying to take part in our international projects.
Trustee & Specialist Medicine Consultant
Ian graduated from Bristol University in 1998. Following periods working in mixed practice and small animal practice he returned to Bristol at the beginning of 2001 to complete a four-year residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine. Ian was awarded the RCVS and European Diplomas in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2005 and RCVS Specialist status in 2007.
Ian now works in the internal medicine department at Davies Veterinary Specialist and is the current Chair of the Small Animal Medicine Society. Ian recently chaired the group which developed the BSAVA/SAMSOC, 'ARE YOU PROTECTING?' antibiotic poster, and was awarded the BSAVA Melton award in 2013.
Acting head of philanthropy
Harriet joined the team full time initially as Senior Administrative Officer in August 2017, having previously volunteered for WVS for a number of years after completing her BSc and MSc in Animal Sciences. Since February 2019 she has taken on the role of Head of Philanthropy as maternity cover.
Working for both Mission Rabies and WVS, she now assists with fundraising and the health and safety for our projects.
Outside of work, Harriet loves taking her dog Winnie for long walks and is pleased to be able to combine a love of animals with charity work.
Specialist Medicine & Research Consultant
Richard graduated from University of Glasgow in 1998 and holds the RCVS Certificate and Diploma in Small Animal Medicine, as well as the ECVIM Diploma in Companion Animal medicine. Richard was then awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship to undertake studies into T cell activation and regulation in diabetes for which he was awarded a PhD in 2007.
Richard moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and was appointed Head of Small Animal Medicine in 2011 and Head of Veterinary Clinical Research in 2012. He has published over 80 peer reviewed publications and runs a broad ranging basic science and clinical research programme which is principally focused on further understanding the role of immune system in health and disease. He is the Specialist Protocol Consultant for Mission Rabies.
Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust
Paula graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1992. She then spent 11 years in general practice before joining Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health as a veterinary adviser in 2003. She joined Dogs Trust as Deputy Veterinary Director in June 2010 and became Veterinary Director in August 2011.
WVS Logistical Support Officer
Chris is employed by Worldwide Veterinary Service as Logistical Support Officer and he is involved in covering the day to day liaison between the different groups involved with Mission Rabies, as well as assisting in the shipping of the Mission Rabies vehicle and the general logistics involved in the project.
Sir Desmond Swayne is a Mission Rabies Patron supporting animal welfare work, alongside his political career.
As the former Parliamentary Private Secretary for David Cameron, he is the representative for New Forest West and has held his seat for four consecutive terms. In 2014 he was appointed a minister for international development and in 2016 was knighted for political and parliamentary service.
India Education Director
Dr Murugan graduated in Zoology from American College in 1975 and in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry from Madras Veterinary College, India in 1982. Out of his passion for Rural Development, he worked for 'OPERATION FLOOD' and 'FMD CONTROL' Projects for the National Dairy Development Board, India for 20 years until 2002, then he served the Indian Government as ITEC Expert in the Indian High Commission. He has since been posted in South America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Kingdom working in the veterinary industry, farm development, dairy production and disease control project management before settling with his family in the United Kingdom as a British Citizen.
Murugan was looking for a career change to work with pet animals, whilst utilising his background in disease control, and was attracted by Mission Rabies, which led him to join the team as Senior Veterinay Co-ordinator, based in southern India.
Murugan enjoys social works and is the past president and member of Rotary club. He loves his family and pets and enjoys spending time with them and travelling.
Goa programme manager
Julie joined Mission Rabies in 2015 as the Goa Project Manager and has supported it's growth to the state-wide vaccination effort that runs throughout the year. She manages and oversees the work of eight vaccination teams who travel down every street in every village, town and city in Goa as part of the Mission Rabies flagship project.
Julie has extensive experience in animal welfare, both in the UK and internationally and is passionate about improving the welfare of roaming dogs whilst at the same time addressing public health and community concerns.
Julie is a qualified veterinary nurse in the UK and is currently undertaking a Masters in International Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh.
Scientific and technical manager - India
Dr. Gowri Yale is a Veterinarian with a MS in Veterinary Public Health and a PhD in Rabies Epidemiology, Diagnostics and Immune response. After working with animal shelters and in small animal practice, Gowri started working for Mission Rabies as the India Scientific and Technical Manager in September 2016.
She manages the rabies response team and rabies diagnostics as part of Goa Government and Mission Rabies passive rabies surveillance efforts. She coordinates with the Government of Goa, manages grant arrangements, and lobbies for ongoing and expanded partnerships to work towards a phased and sustainable exit strategy for Mission Rabies in Goa and a full handover to the Government in the longer term.
North India Regional Manager
Born & brought up in Maharashtra, Praveen worked with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature to travel to eleven South-Asian countries by foot. This project was to spread the message of eco-protection and Praveen gave lectures to students of more than 200 schools throughout his journey.
Since 2014 Praveen is managing our project in Ranchi where Mission Rabies recently celebrated the milestone of no human rabies death for one year due to the great work of Praveen's teams.
He is also managing his own charity Hope & Animal Trust which runs a city-wide ABC programme in Ranchi.
WVS Director of International Veterinary Training
Ilona studied in the University of Helsinki, Finland, and started her career in mixed veterinary practice in 2003. She came to India in 2004 and has since been involved with India Project for Animals and Nature (IPAN) in Tamil Nadu as a veterinary consultant.
In 2009, Ilona and her husband, Nigel Otter, began work with Worldwide Veterinary Service to establish the International Training Centre which has so far trained over 800 veterinarians from around India in spay/neuter surgery. She completed an MSc degree from the Royal Veterinary College of London in 2012.
Ilona lives permanently in the Nilgiris district in South India with her family that extends from husband and two daughters, Emma and Saara, to some 200 resident animals of the IPAN Hill View Farm Animal Refuge.
WVS Asia Director of Operations
Nigel is Chairman of WVS India, as well as the managing trustee of Mission Rabies' main partner in India - India Project for Animals and Nature (IPAN). He has received the Jaigopal Garodia Animal Activist Award in 2003, Civil Society Citizen Karmaveer Puraskaar in 2008 and Kulapathi Munshi Award in 2013 for his dedication to animal welfare and nature conservation.
Nigel is appointed as an Hon. Animal Welfare Officer by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and has been a member of the Governing Body of the Federation of Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). He also was a nominee for the CBCSE (laboratory animal welfare) in the Nilgiris district.
Mission Rabies Africa Projects Director
Jordana qualified from Cambridge University in 2006 and worked for a mixed practice for 3.5 years in Lincolnshire. Left to travel the world, she worked and volunteered at different organisations around the world. Back in the UK, she then worked at a mixed practice near her home, Sheffield, for 16 months before leaving to work for TOLFA in Rajasthan, India for 16 months as a Rescue Team Veterinarian and Assistant Indian Project Coordinator. Among her tasks were the treatment of mostly small animal rescue cases, surgeries, as well as looking after volunteers. During that time she also ran the Bikaner vaccination checkpoint and subsequently joined Mission Rabies.
Malawi country manager
Dagmar studied veterinary medicine in Munich, Germany, graduating in 2002. After finishing her postgraduate doctorate in 2004 she spent 6 years in the UK working as a vet in small animal practices and out of hours emergency clinics around the country.
Since 2009, Dagmar has worked as a volunteer on several veterinary projects in Europe and Africa and was part of the teaching staff during the first training of Indian vets at the WVS International Training Centre in Ooty, as well as the initial Mission Rabies drive in 2013.
She is now based in Blantyre, managing our flagship projects in Malawi.
Zomba Programmes Coordinator
Before joining Mission Rabies, Myson worked as Malawi Country Director at Village X Org, a community-led organization, which has funded development programmes in over sixty rural communities in Malawi. Myson has five years of experience working with various local and international NGOs in programming at the community level, including vetting and facilitating projects, youth engagement programming, peer mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, managing and administering finances, and responding to community concerns.
He believes the key to success in development is giving people the power to decide their own future. Myson holds Degree in Public Health. When he is not working, Myson enjoys traveling with his family, eating foods considered far too sketchy.
Education Programme Coordinator
Vanessa obtained a degree in Education Social studies from the University of Malawi in 2014 with more than 4 years’ experience in monitoring, supervision as well as leadership. She has skills in Project Management and possesses excellent organisational and training facilitation skills that have been acquired over the course of her career.
Prior to joining Mission Rabies Vanessa has a volunteered with Corps Africa, a non-profit organisation that recruits and places ambitious young Africans in remote, high-poverty communities in their own countries to facilitate small-scale, high-impact projects that are identified by local people, fulfil key needs, and whose impact and success can be carefully measured, all through transformative volunteer experience. Through this, she has executed and led a number of development projects such as Nursey school construction project for vulnerable communities in southern Malawi as well as Educational After school sessions with vulnerable girls in rural communities. Vanessa believes the key to success to any project is awareness, when people understand the problem at hand it is easier to come up with solutions and work together as a team.
US Director of marketing & development
Imogen joined Mission Rabies in 2016, where her role involves establishing Mission Rabies USA, running day to day operations, marketing and fundraising.
A specialist in marketing communications and project management, Imogen has worked with international animal welfare and conservation organizations in Australia and the United States since 2004.
Imogen is a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, but now lives in California with her husband, two children and their dog, Billie. In her spare time, Imogen trains for ultra-marathons in the hills around San Francisco.
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.