Team Work Makes The Dream Work

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In July 2017, Twala Trust, an animal welfare organization based outside Harare in Zimbabwe, coordinated a rabies awareness and vaccination programme for their local community.By teaming up with the Zimbabwe SPCA, Mr Lambert Gwenhure (a government rabies scientist in the Department of Veterinary Services), Dr Kenneth Moyo (a government veterinarian) and 5 vet students from Western University in California made their impact so much stronger.

Lambert Gwenhure and a local child share information about safe behaviour around dogs and bite prevention. Photo:Twala Trust

Lambert Gwenhure gave impressive educational talks to community members, immediately inspiring community members and answering their many questions. His wealth of knowledge and experience, his kind and caring nature, and his determination to eradicate rabies in Zimbabwe came across very clearly. He also came armed with informative, interactive educational materials in both Shona and English (some of which were developed by GARC and other partners) designed to help children relate to the information more easily.

With such information, owners in areas with no access to veterinary services can still learn basic skills in caring for their animals, increasing the welfare, health, longevity and value of the animal. Community members left Lambert’s educational talks having gained knowledge in health care and dog handling, the importance of rabies

protection, and materials to share the message with other community members.

In rural areas across Zimbabwe, dogs are used for herding and guarding livestock kraals against predators and are “security guards”, and cats keep rodents away from vital grain stores. However, both humans and their animals survive in extremely difficult circumstances, without running water, electricity and absence of basic health and veterinary care. With scare means to feed dogs in rural communities and severe undernourishment, many dogs turn to scavenging or pack hunting in wildlife areas, further increasing the risk of injury and disease to these animals and their human owners. Providing much needed veterinary care to these animals ensures their longevity and well-being with such services having a direct impact on human health as well.

Photo: Twala Trust

Contracting the dreaded rabies virus is a huge concern to Twala from the human and animal perspective. The Twala staff have personal experience of the terrifying and tragic job of dealing with animals in the final furious stages of rabies and are fully committed to stopping this terrible disease. By the end of 2017, Twala will have vaccinated at least 3,000 dogs in the rural areas surrounding Twala and they hold weekly clinics where local dogs can have health checks, vaccinations and treatment as necessary along with a good meal.

Common to the whole team involved in the awareness drive is the understanding that rabies is a killer of both people and animals in Zimbabwe and that working together is essential to raise awareness, reduce the risks and prevent rabies through vaccination.

This article is based on a Twala Trust newsletter article of the same title written by Tracey Hugill. You can read more about the Twala Trust at