World Rabies Day shines again!

A photo collage done to celebrate GARCs World Rabies Day 2020.

With a record number of public votes for the World Rabies Day awards and over 250 registered events from 55 countries, we have shown that we - the global community – will continue to fight rabies, irrespective of the circumstances. I am sure that most will agree that this year has been one of the most challenging in living history, especially considering the challenges when working towards eliminating neglected tropical diseases like rabies. However, together, we have brought rabies back to the forefront through a wonderfully successful World Rabies Day! You, as a member of the global community against rabies, took this year’s theme to heart by helping to end rabies through collaboration and vaccination.  

While many parts of the world were in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals and organizations were creative in their approaches for World Rabies Day activities: the One Health Working Group at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine created a "Buzzfeed" quiz that matched participants with a rabies vector species, while IBAHCM from the University of Glasgow held a ‘Cycle, Swim and Run’ race! In Africa, many organizations held rabies vaccination drives and just two of these examples come from Have-A-Heart Namibia and The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust. The Kurdistan Animal Rights organization also offered free rabies vaccinations to dogs and cats in Iraq, and in Japan, a webinar was held to teach about rabies and its clinical diagnostic methods. Supporting the initiatives across the world, GARC offered free downloadable resources for social media, printouts, posters and pretty much anything else needed. In total, almost 9,000 downloads took place from the GARC website!

A vet vaccinates a dog free of charge in celebration of GARCs World Rabies Day 2020.

Inspired by your actions and enthusiasm, we at GARC aimed to build stronger collaborations to ensure a greater reach across the rabies endemic world. With collaboration at the heart of our work, the GARC team worked closely with: the Knowledge Channel in the Philippines to deliver an online lesson; the IVSA to recognize the next generation of rabies champions; and with China Biodiversity Conservation Green Development Foundation for a TV program in Wuhan, China focusing on rabies; to name a few of the many other great partnership events around the world.

The work that we do to eliminate rabies, and days like World Rabies Day that aim to raise awareness about the disease, would never be successful without your hard work, enthusiasm, and dedication. So, to celebrate you, the rabies champions of the world, we held the fifth World Rabies Day awards. The judges had a tough time scoring the 57 nominations from 23 countries, but the public votes helped to tip the scales! More than 5,500 public votes – a record high – came in to support these rabies champions in their work. As a result, 6 people and organizations were rewarded for their dedication and outstanding work against rabies.

We at the GARC team would like to thank you once again for your participation in World Rabies Day 2020 and for making it such a record-breaking success! We look forward to next year’s celebrations for the 15th World Rabies Day and hope to see more records broken.

Our successes towards rabies elimination are built on everyone one of you working in the rabies community to save lives and eliminate this terrible disease. We would love to stay in touch with you, not only during World Rabies Day, but throughout the year. This year, to make it even easier for you, we have created an Instagram account. Find us there or on any of favorite social media channels.