Mass vaccination and sterilisation project in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Sponsored by Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V. and in cooperation with the State Veterinary Services of Mpumalanga and the University of Onderstepoort, Pretoria we executed a mass vaccination, sterilisation and education campaign in April 2014.
At least 24,000 people, mostly children, die of rabies in Africa every year. Dogs are the main reservoir host of this deadly virus and the disease is endemic in large parts of South Africa. Due to the low vaccination rate of the dog population and the high human population density the province of Mpumalanga is at high risk of new rabies infections in South Africa.
To eliminate rabies in this region we combined humane dog population control with a mass vaccination drive. We vaccinated the dogs in the Bushbuckridge area against rabies and sterilised as many dogs as possible in one month, working with a team of vets and volunteers from South Africa and all over the world.
During the project we managed to vaccinate over 85% of the dogs in the local communities. Mass vaccinations of dogs is the only effective way to eradicate rabies, it’s a cost effective, humane and sustainable solution to save lives! Vaccinating at least 70% of dogs in an area creates ‘herd immunity’ as the vaccinated dogs form a barrier, slowing the spread of rabies until it dies out.
The neuterings were performed in a mobile veterinary ambulance unit, provided by the State Veterinary Services who have supported this project. The mobile units worked directly in the communities and villages so the people didn’t have to bring their dogs from far away.
We also planned education programs for the local communities on rabies and dog management. We explained the risks of rabies, how to prevent dog bites and what to do in case someone gets bitten. We also promoted responsible ownership, the benefits of sterilisations, not only for the health of their own dogs (no further pregnancies, risk of TVTs and other diseases of the reproductive organs) but also to reduce the number of stray dogs as many unwanted puppies end up on the street.