Vets Beyond Borders’ Community Awareness initiative is an important component of our VetMatch program. It was designed to promote community appreciation of the close association between animal and humans and the benefits of basic animal health care.
In rabies endemic areas, VBB places a high priority on involvement with local schools, advising schoolchildren how to behave around animals and how to minimise the risk of rabies infection.
We are delighted to involve new veterinary graduates and veterinary students in this program.
If you have relevant experience or would like to help us deliver and expand our Community Awareness program , please follow the link below:
If you are a representative of an animal welfare or community group that would like to be involved in this important program, please follow the link below:
VBB community-based interventions
Sikkim – SARAH Program
As a result of the efforts of the SARAH Program, the Sikkimese school curriculum for year 5 and 6 students includes study of animals in the ecosystem; students learning how to interact with animals especially dogs.
A community-based education intervention was conducted over two weeks in April 2014 within seven schools (four urban and three rural schools) by three veterinary students from the University of Melbourne and Dr Kate Abel, a VBB veterinarian and medical doctor.
This intervention used cartoon-style images, cut out models with moveable body parts and short videos to increase rabies awareness and dog-bite prevention.
An evaluation of the intervention was conducted using questionnaires provided to 261 students before and following the education sessions.
Key knowledge gaps were found in the children’s understanding of the appropriate behaviour around scared dogs, potential rabies sources and post-exposure prevention steps. The test scores improved by nineteen percent following the education sessions and the proportion of children able to correctly detail post-exposure rabies prevention steps increased by 88 percent.
VBB volunteers with the Ladakh ABC-AR project have conducted community education and rabies awareness sessions whilst vaccinating dogs.
World Rabies Day Activities
VBB-affiliated projects are involved with initatives embracing World Rabies Day. The main events focus on anti-rabies vaccination and rabies education.
In Sikkim, this coincides with the annual statewide mass dog vaccination campaign, which runs for approximately four weeks; SARAH staff often walking long distances to remote villages to ensure vaccination of as many dogs as possible.
Dogs and People Workshops
These workshops are held annually by Vets Beyond Borders, in collaboration with Animal Management in Remote and Rural Communities (AMRRIC) and the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. The events have covered a range of important topics, arising from the complex association between dogs and humans.
VBB volunteer, Ben White, a high school teacher from Australia, visited VBB’s Bylakuppe ABC-AR project on two occasions, delivering presentations to local schools and community groups on the important topics of rabies prevention, post-exposure prophylaxis and animal welfare.
Ben’s presentations emphasised that, once symptoms of rabies develop, death is almost inevitable. He stressed that the risk of humans becoming infected with this dreadful virus is markedly reduced by systematic mass vaccination of the dog population. The importance and effectiveness of administering a full PEP course following a bite from a suspected rabid dog was also explained.
Advocating for rabies elimination is a VBB priority; holding briefings with the Australian Government on the new global framework for rabies elimination and the challenges faced.