Our model for rabies prevention works
Rabies is preventable. But it still causes enormous loss of life in the world's poorest regions, particularly rural Asia and Africa.
Without the financial resources of developed countries, these regions have struggled to tackle the deadliest disease on earth.
GARC uses a holistic model for rabies prevention that is proven to work and includes
People are at the heart of our model for rabies prevention.
During the Bohol project, rabies prevention grew from 124 paid government staff to over 15,000 people (including village based volunteers and teachers).
This was a seismic shift from government dependent implementation to a community led movement.
Every person involved has a vital part to play. The model includes training for volunteers, teachers, veterinarians, and capacity building within governments and organizations.
Your donation can help us expand community based rabies prevention in some of the world's poorest areas. Donate. Protect.
Making sure everyone knows how rabies is transmitted and what to do if they are exposed to the disease could save many of 70,000 lives lost to the disease every year.
Most rabies victims are children, so we work with education departments and teachers bring rabies education into the classroom.
Children too have their part to play. They are encouraged to talk about what they have learnt at home, reinforcing their own understanding, passing their knowledge on to their siblings and parents, and spreading the information throughout the community.
Through our programmes children are taught how to be safe around animals and the importance of looking after animals well.
Rabies and dog bite education is now a part of the curriculum in Bohol reaching 185,000 children every year.
This achievement means working with government, schools and teachers, providing them with the information, support, and resources they need to help children stay safe.
Help us teach more people about the risk of rabies and how to stay safe. Click here to donate.
The best protection for people is for the animals in the community to be vaccinated against rabies.
Their immunity creates a barrier between other animals which may carry the disease and people.
Animals that have been vaccinated need to be registered and tagged. This often means adopting and maintaining new administrative systems.
In Bohol, dog registration and vaccination is now mandatory. Making this a legal requirement secures long-term sustainability.
A small fee is charged for dog registration and this helps to fund the on-going program costs and subsidizes human post-exposure vaccines.
Dog owners are encouraged to take responsibility for their animals by volunteer paralegals. In Bohol, so far over 4000 people have received paralegal training.
A secondary benefit is that these paralegal volunteers improve the community’s access to justice.
Your donation to vaccinate dogs against rabies improves long term animal welfare.
When somebody is exposed to rabies, it is a race against time. They need to begin a series of vaccinations called Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) as soon as possible.
If they don’t get PEP, or don’t get it soon enough, and rabies symptoms begin, the patient dies within a few days.
Firstly, people need to know that they must seek medical attention. One of the reasons awareness is so important.
Secondly, when they do seek medical attention, PEP needs to be available.
Rabies vaccines need to be kept chilled, so cold-chain transportation and storage networks need to be established so, we work with governments to improve supply chains.
We work with health departments to make sure medical staff are up-to-date with developments in treatment; for example, simplified vaccine regimens and that intradermal administration (which uses less vaccine).
And, we work with local communities and businesses to establish more anti-rabies clinics, so that people can reach treatment more easily.
Our work to improve access to treatment relies on donations. Please help.
One basic problem with rabies globally is inadequate reporting. It is essential that rabies exposures and deaths be reported so we can better understand the scale of the problem.
In the model we use, Community Response Teams, often made up of volunteers, deal with suspected rabies cases and take steps to stop the disease spreading.
And, to improve diagnosis, we facilitate training for local veterinarians in dRIT (direct rapid immunohistochemical test). This in-the-field test, rapidly confirms whether or not an animal is/was rabid.
Previously, rabies in animals could only be confirmed by post-mortem in laboratories – facilities not readily available in developing countries.
dRIT makes reporting incidence of rabies much easier. It also removes doubt about exposure to the virus, prompting people to get PEP, when necessary, and avoiding unnecessary treatments.
The surveillance work of volunteers and vets, monitors the success of the rabies prevention measures and makes sure resources are directed to contain outbreaks.
Costs and benefits
The participation of people throughout the community is key to the model’s success. The people have ownership of the prevention measures and, because the costs are low, the measures are more sustainable.
In Bohol, the overall budget was less than $0.30 per person over three years. That’s a remarkably low price for a life free from the threat of rabies.
Keeping rabies at bay brings financial benefits too. Bohol has been able to expand its tourist trade, advertising itself as a safer destination.
Now that the infrastructure is set up, rabies control continues as a part of daily life on the island. And, following the Galing Pook award, other Philippine communities are using our model for their own rabies control.
For more information: The award-winning Bohol Project
However, the project in Bohol is expanding. The model, initially designed with the traditional approach of tackling one disease at a time (vertical management), is being adapted to ‘horizontal disease management’. This means the infrastructure put in place for rabies management will be used for simultaneously controlling other diseases.
This is testament to the power of our community led model and another example of the benefits of the project reaching beyond its original scope.
Our work in Bohol has been recognized for excellence with The Charity Award 2013 for Healthcare and Medical Research and The Galing Pook in 2012. These accolades are an assurance that any donation you make is effective.
Whatever you can afford makes a difference. Donate. Protect.