Mission Rabies is a charity working to eliminate rabies from the world by 2030
Every year more than 60,000 people die from the world’s deadliest disease with children aged 6-16 the most common victims. 100 children die from the disease every day across the world - despite it being 100% vaccine-preventable. 99% of human rabies cases are from dogs; Mission Rabies works in rabies endemic countries across the world to prevent needless deaths by delivering mass canine vaccination campaigns and vital rabies awareness and prevention programmes. Our education officers deliver fun and interactive lessons in schools that teach children about rabies, how to avoid dog bites and understand dog behaviour, as well as what to do in the event of an exposure.
Providing rabies education to children, especially those living in remote places where there is no access to rabies vaccines, can be the difference between life and death. Recently, our Malawi education team met an eight-year-old girl who had been bitten by a dog displaying rabies symptoms. They were told how she had used the information Mission Rabies had taught when visiting her school, to ensure that she and four others who had been bitten, received the correct, lifesaving post-exposure treatment.
Dr Dagmar Mayer, Malawi Country Manager, Mission Rabies said: “Not only did the work of the Mission Rabies education programme potentially save five lives here, but this story is a fantastic example of the multiplier effect of education; every person we teach will pass the information on to many others.”
This March we reached the milestone of educating one million children in India and Malawi, but there is so much more work to do and so many more lives to save.
What do we want to achieve?
At least 500 children die from rabies in Malawi each year. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, the country’s second largest city, has recorded the highest number of child rabies deaths of any institution in Africa. We established our education programme in 2015 to teach children how to avoid dog bites and how to get appropriate treatment if they are bitten. We run this alongside a district-wide canine vaccination programme to eliminate the disease for good.
One child died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2016. This is a massive reduction on previous years, but it is still one rabies death too many. We need to expand the education programme to strengethen our efforts to reduce the number of child rabies deaths to zero, while we eliminate the disease through canine vaccination.
We need your support to make sure that no child ever dies of rabies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital again!
We established our education programme to work in government listed primary schools in Blantyre, Zomba and Chiradzulu District - all served by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We visit these schools annually to reinforce our preventative messages and save children’s lives, working closely with education authorities on the ground. We have demonstrated that our programme can work in government schools and now we need your support to expand the programme to the small, private, primary schools that exist outside the government system. The majority of these serve poor and remote communities where children have difficulty accessing government schools. We have created a comprehensive map of their locations in Blantyre District and discovered that these schools serve thousands of children not previously reached by our programme. These are all children at risk of dying from rabies because they don’t know what the disease is or how to access treatment. We are currently mapping the schools in Zomba and Chiradzulu and are expecting similar results there.
We are determined that every child in the districts that we serve should have access to rabies prevention education, no matter how remote their school is. By supporting Life Saving Lessons, you will help us to educate 15,000 more children in Malawi and ensure that no child is beyond our reach.
We are currently looking for support to expand our education programme running to December 2017. Our education programme runs year round and your contributions could help us to increase our education capacity this year.
On our work in Goa…
“[Mission Rabies] have so far directly educated 131,055 children, 6440 teachers and 31,756 parents as of 1st June 2016. The number of dog bites and rabies death in this state started coming down indicative of the great success of Mission Rabies Education. Mission Rabies Education work is commendable. We appreciate [their] hard work.” Gajanan P Bhat, Director of Education, Goa State, India