September 2013 to December 2016

Impact in numbers

24,249 dogs vaccinated in 2016
30,000 children in over 200 schools educated about rabies
Human rabies cases went from 26 in 2010 to 3 in 2016
Field Officers trained
Over 600 volunteer vaccinators trained



Rumah Kita Community

(DIC) Disease Investigation Center Medan

(FAO) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Indonesia

Provincial Livestock and Animal Health Service Office (North Sumatra Province)

Nias Island, Indonesia, is home to more than 780,000 people and an estimated dog population of just under 40,000.  

In February 2010, an outbreak of rabies was reported in Nias, which had previously been rabies-free. By the end of the year, 26 human deaths were reported due to rabies. It was suspected that the rabies came from mainland Sumatra which was still rabies endemic.

GARC’s partnership with the government of Nias Island began in September 2013 through the Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE) Project.


Policy Support and Capacity Building Activities

To ensure the sustainability of the project, the team met community leaders to make them aware of rabies. There were also regular meetings with volunteer vaccinators and rabies coordinators in the districts to discuss the progress of the rabies program, and refresh training for vaccinators.

Field Officers were trained on sample collection, data encoding and management, integrated bite case management, post-vaccination survey, dog vaccination, and dog catching and handling. 

Community Education and Communication


One of the strengths of the CARE Project in Nias was its education and communication initiatives, which were conducted for children in elementary, junior and senior high schools, high schools, and orphanages on Nias Island. More than 30,000 children in over 200 schools were reached through lectures, games, films and role playing.

The GARC team conducted rabies awareness lectures for government staff, parents, teachers, and community leaders including district and village chiefs, religious leaders, and Rabies Center volunteers.

Information materials such as leaflets, notebooks, stickers, button pins and shirts were developed and distributed in support of the awareness campaigns in communities and schools. An interactive video titled “Desa Warna Warni” (Colorful Village) was produced for children, which includes songs and dances with key messages on animal bite management and recognizing signs of rabies in dogs.

The video was launched during the National World Rabies Day (WRD) celebration in 2015. It is currently being used during information campaigns in schools, reformatories, women and children health centers, public health centers and religious institutions.

Nias Island has used the annual WRD celebration to strengthen its Rabies Prevention and Control Program, with activities such as technical training and workshops for different stakeholders, exhibitions, and rabies awareness lectures for schools and communities.

Mass Dog Vaccination

The number of dogs vaccinated has significantly increased since the CARE Project began in Nias.      

Volunteer vaccinators and Field Officers were trained to achieve their target of vaccinating at least 70% of the total dog population in the island, with basic training on vaccination, dog catching and handling, and rabies prevention. A Field Officers’ Guide for the conduct of mass dog vaccination was also developed and distributed.


Surveillance and Monitoring

Local animal health and medical staff have been continuously monitoring animal bite cases and suspected rabies cases with Integrated Bite Case Management. This joint effort resulted in more dog samples submitted for laboratory confirmation in 2016 as compared to previous years, and improved detection of rabies cases.