Boehringer Ingelheim and GARC boost rabies elimination efforts in Asia

Boehringer Ingelheim, in collaboration with GARC, undertake a mass dog vaccination event in Sukabumi, Indonesia
A cat is vaccinated in Sukabumi, Indonesia as part of the collaborative work. Photo: Boehringer Ingelheim

Mass dog vaccination is the best and cheapest way to eliminate rabies in both humans and animals. By addressing the disease in animals, we can save human lives – putting the One Health idea into action. While identifying that mass dog vaccination is a key solution, the approach to delivering it to communities can be complicated and therefore, needs a collaborative and cooperative approach.

Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia are given thought by most people when deciding their next holiday destination. For the Boehringer Ingelheim and GARC partnership though, these are the four countries we are focusing on to deliver mass dog vaccination to. As a manufacturer of high-quality vaccines, Boehringer Ingelheim believes that, beyond providing the vaccines, a more holistic hands-on approach to be involved and gain understanding of the true needs faced by those working on the ground is necessary.

We worked together to ensure that their staff had the necessary tools, resources, and knowledge to drive an effective rabies elimination campaign in each of the four countries. We trained the country teams on how to plan and prepare for a mass dog vaccination campaign through an interactive case scenario. The staff were also encouraged to undertake the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC) to ensure that they were well equipped to share accurate life-saving information when in the field and speaking with dog owners and the wider community.

Earlier this year, Boehringer Ingelheim had pledged 12 000 doses of vaccine to the four countries, targeting areas in dire need of rabies vaccination efforts. While the progress in the various countries is still ongoing, the team in Vietnam has completed their allotment and vaccinated over 6,000 animals! We know this, as every vaccination was tracked through the GARC app, providing detailed maps and graphs of the work being done in real-time. To date across all the project sites, nearly 7 000 animals have already been vaccinated free of charge by the Boehringer Ingelheim team and their partners in the field.  

“The team in Vietnam has completed their allotment and vaccinated over 6,000 animals!”

This close collaboration between GARC and Boehringer Ingelheim has ensured that enthusiastic teams of a private company are equipped with the latest tools, knowledge, and expertise from an NGO, to deliver mass vaccination campaigns in partnership with local government and community teams. Boehringer Ingelheim has generously donated vaccines and their service to deliver them to those most in need – the at-risk dogs and as a result, helping to protect save many human lives. Through efforts and partnerships like this, we continue to enthusiastically drive towards the Zero by 30 goal.     

Article contributed by: Dr Terence Scott (GARC) and Dr Do Yew Tan (Boehringer Ingelheim).