VetTrain 2012 Volunteer Information

VetTrain 2012 Background Information for Volunteers

Rabies is a major public health problem in India. Progress in rabies control in India has been slow and the need for action is compelling. Most animal bites in India (91.5%) are by dogs. A person is bitten every 2 seconds, and someone dies from rabies every 30 minutes. The annual number of person-days lost because of animal bites is 38 million, and the cost of post-bite treatment is about $25 million. (Sudarshan MK. Assessing burden of rabies in India. WHO sponsored national multi-centric rabies survey (May 2004). Assoc Prev Control Rabies India J 2004; 6:44-5.)

Control of rabies in the dog population is critical for controlling rabies in the human population, and requires considerably fewer resources than post-exposure prophylaxis following dog bites. The majority of all post-exposure prophylaxis expenditures are borne by patients who can least afford to pay. In India, patients pay for nearly half of the financial burden attributed to rabies (Ref: , WHO Technical Report Series 931 WHO EXPERT

ABC-AR (Animal Birth Control- Anti-Rabies) programs are being carried out throughout India as the legally prescribed method for dog population and rabies control, endorsed by W.H.O. However there is a lack of technically trained personnel available to deliver these programs. The Animal Welfare Board of India published Standard Operating Procedures for ABC-AR programs in 2009. Agencies carrying out ABC-AR programs are required to adhere to these SOP’s however there is currently no training being offered on this.

HAH traineesThe VBB VetTrain project was run by Vets Beyond Borders at the National Institute of Animal Welfare, Delhi in 2009. The training project  developed by VBB and accredited with AWBI, consisted of a high quality lecture component developed by VBB and practical training in surgery and humane handling. It was very successful and trained 180 graduates however it was found that due to regional language and cultural differences, travel costs and other issues, a better model is to establish regional training centres. VBB is committed to continuing to provide training to Indian personnel, in partnership with the Animal Welfare Board of India and other government and non-governmental agencies, in order to increase the capacity and standards of ABC-AR programs being carried out throughout India along the guidelines of the AWBI SOP’s. This is in keeping with VBB’s core goals of improving animal welfare and public health. 

The program provides training to Indian veterinarians, veterinary assistants (paravets), animal handlers and program managers.  The vet/assistant course is a 14 day training course in basic surgery (asepsis, tissue handling, suture materials, desexing technique for flank and midline speys, anaesthesia, and associated skills needed by veterinary assistants to support a surgeon).  Formal lectures and training manuals have been prepared by VBB and accredited with the Animal Welfare Board of India.  University of Queensland is a collaborating partner.

Regional training centres are being developed in different parts of India to provide this training. The Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health Programme is to become the regional training centre for North/East India. A training centre was established at Jeevashram Animal Hospital in Delhi, and discussions are underway with Jaipur Veterinary Training Centre in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Further regional training centres will be established as sites become available.