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    • 27 Jan, 2022

    World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

    This Sunday 30 January is Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, when some of the most forgotten-about diseases are highlighted.

    These are diseases which affect the most vulnerable in our society: those living in poverty, the disadvantaged and often the young, in some of the most underdeveloped regions of the world. Rabies falls into this category and despite being 100% preventable through vaccination, this fatal disease remains endemic in many countries in Asia & Africa.

    99% of all human rabies deaths, 40% of which are in children under the age of 15, come from an infected dog bite, making dogs the main source of transmission of the virus to humans.

    There is a human rabies vaccine, but this is often out of reach for many because of its prohibitive cost or lack of availability. Although a person being vaccinated plays a vital part in the protection from rabies, as all Mayhew Afghanistan’s staff  are, it doesn’t have an impact on the main source of the disease – rabies in dogs.  However, mass vaccination of a minimum of 70% of the population of dogs in an area over consecutive cycles is a far more cost-effective way of eliminating this disease and making a canine-rabies free society.

    Another reason rabies falls into the neglected diseases category is the lack of knowledge about the disease and how it’s transmitted in the most vulnerable communities. This is why it’s so important to raise awareness on how to behave around dogs, how to prevent being bitten and to know what to do if a bite or scratch happens.

    Consequently, our mass canine rabies vaccination programme in Kabul is more vital than ever. Mayhew Afghanistan has been vaccinating dogs in 16 districts of Kabul, over 4 cycles. Delivery has been disrupted both by coronavirus restrictions in 2020 & 2021, and our work was temporarily suspended with the change in government in Afghanistan for 3.5 months. However, from 1 December 2021 our Vaccination & Community Engagement teams are back working at full capacity and not deterred by the present heavy snowfall in the city!

    Vaccinations

    In 2021, we vaccinated 14,530 dogs against rabies in Kabul.

    Community Engagement

    We also reached out to 1,719 Kabul residents (including 1,294 children) with our Community Engagement programme.

    Our team has consistently vaccinated on average 75% of Kabul’s dog population, and there’s been a fall in the number of recorded human rabies cases as well as reported dog bites with the Ministry of Public Health. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and let this horrible disease re-emerge – so our mission to humanely manage the free-roaming dog population in Kabul and make it a canine-rabies free city continues!

    Help us do more

    Our lifesaving vaccination programme is entirely funded by generous donations.

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