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Post by on  2nd  September  2013

We have lift off!

With day two of the vaccination programme in full swing, Mission Rabies is off to a flying start. Our official launch took place on Saturday in Goa, with simultaneous events taking place at the other southern checkpoints, generating much interest within the Indian media. 

The teams of local staff and overseas volunteers (still recovering from their long-haul flights and jetlag), donned their yellow Mission Rabies t-shirts and took to the streets to begin their work yesterday. The results are still coming in, but we can confirm that our group in Erode, in collaboration with IPAN and People For Animals Coimbatore, managed to vaccinate 172 dogs in a single morning, while in Goa they smashed their daily target by treating an incredible 548 dogs! A fantastic result for the first day.

There are new features coming to www.missionrabies.com - check out the 'vacinnometer' on the homepage to stay up-to-date with the latest number of dogs treated. The gallery is nearly ready to go live, so we will be able to showcase the many great images that are being captured. We are also working on a lovely new map that will show how many dogs have been vaccinated in each region, as well as the truck’s progress as it makes its way across India. 

In the meantime, we are posting regular updates on all the exciting developments, including some superb photos, to Facebook  and Twitter , so don't forget to 'like' or 'follow' us if you haven't already.

Post by on  23rd  August  2013

Gearing up for launch...

As the launch of Mission Rabies draws ever closer, here’s a quick update on some of the final preparations that have been taking place!

Logistics: Our team have travelled to all the Indian checkpoints over the last few weeks, working closely with the fantastic partners who will initiate the start of Mission Rabies. Huge thanks to the organisations and charities who are leading the teams in each of the checkpoint areas. 

Many animal handling courses are also running in preparation for the project; here's the team who took part in the training in Guwahati last week:

Key events: There will be a launch event in Goa on 31st August, hosted by the IARPFA and several other brilliant Goan charities, NGOs and animal welfare bodies. Our closing ceremony, taking place on 28th September in Assam, will coincide with World Rabies Day and mark the launch of Mission Rabies as an entity.

Epidemiological aspects: The Epicollect forms are now finalised and have been given the seal of approval. It’s taken some working out, but we should be able to generate a truly unique set of data from the project so it’s great to have a working system that's ready to go.

Resources: We have taken on a small marketing and PR team, so please do email them for any resources you may require. We will be providing a wealth of information via the new gallery and resources sections of www.missionrabies.com in the near future. 

With a project of this scale, involving around 500 people, there will undoubtedly be some interesting things that crop up in September, so watch this space for the news coming directly from India in just over one weeks’ time!

Post by Kate Shervell on  30th  July  2013

Land ahoy!

After a month at sea, travelling over 11,000km from Southampton via the Mediterranean Sea, through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and across the Arabian Sea, the ship carrying the Mission Rabies truck has finally reached dry land at Mumbai docks! Our Logistics Manager, Antony, was there to unload the truck and make sure that everything had survived the sea crossing intact!

Despite the huge distance already covered, the real journey is only just about to begin! From the 1st September, the truck will set off on a 6,000km overland adventure, from the beaches of Goa and the tropical backwaters of Kerala, to the fringes of the Himalayas and the land of the one-horned rhino. Along the way it will stop at 11 vaccination checkpoints, assisting our veterinary teams of over 250 vets, nurses, paravets and dog catchers as they vaccinate 50,000 dogs in just one month!

There are still a couple of volunteer places left on the trip this September - contact kate@wvs.org.uk if you'd like to take part!

Post by Kate Shervell on  13th  July  2013

The team in action

The Mission Rabies team have been hard at work with the staff from  Humane Animal Society, Coimbatore  for the past three days and have so far vaccinated an incredible 1279 dogs! This is a great trial run for the team, ready for September, and has been an opportunity to test out the data collection smartphone app,  Epicollect , which we hope to use in September to give us a real-time map of when and where each dog has been rabies vaccinated! 

Our team of expert dog handlers, about to leave for Coimbatore

The Commisioner of Coimbatore marks the first dog vaccinated

Team vehicles ready for the vaccination drive

The catching team head for a garbage disposal area in the hunt for dogs

A 'net's eye view'! Catching street dogs with nets is the most humane method.

Dr Aswin with Venkatesh in action - catching and vaccinating!

Catching dogs in crowded streets is a real art!

The teams work efficiently through the streets to catch and vaccinate as many dogs as possible

Non-toxic paint is used to mark each dog as it is vaccinated to avoid accidentally vaccinating the same dogs twice and to allow us to check we are reaching at least 70% or more of the dog population to prevent rabies transmission

Dr Vinay vaccinates a community dog

Dr Vishnu from Humane Animal Society hard at work

Our vaccination teams attract a lot of interest in the streets!

Not every dog is grateful to receive their rabies shots!

Dr Jawahar vaccinating some young puppies. Dogs and puppies of all ages are vaccinated during the campaign

Expert animal handler, Mahadevan, assists Dr Vinay

The teams keep working, even in the dark! 

Thank you to all the amazing vets and catchers for your hard work! Keep going to reach 3000!

Post by Kate Shervell on  10th  July  2013

Catching dogs in Coimbatore

This week, three of the vets from the WVS International Training Centre (ITC), along with a group of our expert dog catchers, travelled to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, to help with a mass rabies vaccination drive being organised by one of our associated charities, Humane Animal Society. The drive aims to vaccinate 2000 dogs in Coimbatore over the next 2 weeks and will act as a great practice run for our teams to polish up their skills ready for September.

The drive also provides the opportunity for six trainee dog catchers from People for Animals Orissa, who will be working for Mission Rabies in Bhubaneshwar, to work alongside skilled catchers and learn the methods involved, ready for September. All our dog catchers are trained to use nets, so that the process doesn't cause the dogs any pain or injury and allows the vets to safely and quickly administer the vaccines.

Dr Vinay, Dr Jawahar and Dr Aswin, from the WVS ITC (pictured in the blue scrub tops, below), will each be leading individual Mission Rabies vaccination checkpoints in September and so the work in Coimbatore will help them to spot any potential problems and fine-tune the organisation of the teams before the launch of our 50,000 dog campaign! The vaccination campaign has got off to a very promising start - Dr Vinay told me that today they managed to catch and vaccinate 372 dogs with just two teams - during Mission Rabies, each checkpoint will send out four teams a day!

Well done to the team so far and hope your success continues over the coming two weeks!

Post by Kate Shervell on  5th  July  2013

Making plans and making the news!

While the truck is still on a ship, crossing the Indian ocean, this week saw our team head out on the road to visit and make final preparations with the vaccination checkpoint co-ordinators. Dagmar, our Senior Veterinary Co-ordinator, and Carl, Digital Support, left Germany and the UK for the first stop on a 6 week trip around the south India checkpoints, beginning in Goa, whilst Dr Shashi, one of our Indian Senior Veterinary Co-ordinators headed to Bhubaneshwar in Orissa state to visit People for Animals OrissaMeanwhile, back in the UK, Anna, our North India Volunteer Co-ordinator, and I met up with Rachel and Jordana from Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA), one of three charities who will be running our vaccination checkpoint in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

These meetings have been a great opportunity to run through the plans and put faces to the names of many people who have been working tirelessly over the past few months to make sure that the September mass vaccination drive will be a success!

In Goa, dodging the monsoon rains, Dagmar and Carl visited the facilities of International Animal Rescue and met up with the organisation's vet, Astrid, as well as many members of the team and inpatients at the veterinary hospital. They also met Mrs Norma Alvares, from People for Animals Goa, one of the other organisations helping to run Mission Rabies in Goa, and their visit even made the national news! 

We'll have more updates from our teams on the ground over the coming weeks, but for now, I will leave you with some images of the people and patients of International Animal Rescue!

Astrid and Dagmar, working on Mission Rabies plans

Street dogs are caught, brought to the International Animal Rescue hospital and neutered, before being returned to the exact place they were picked up. There is room for over 80 dogs in their spotlessly clean kennels!

The Indian monsoon...

This little dog was found trapped in a well with his hind legs tied together. Luckily he was uninjured and already has several potential homes to go to, once he has been castrated!

Some of the most important team members - the dog catchers! Without their skills, we would never be able to run Mission Rabies!

Post by James Tubb on  14th  June  2013

At Fitzpatrick Referrals

The Mission Rabies Truck at Fitzpatrick Referrals yesterday!

Post by Kate Shervell on  14th  June  2013

Packing, packing, packing...

There’s been a lot of packing going on recently. Last week I packed my bags and headed to India to meet with our South and North India Veterinary Directors, Dr Ilona and Dr Sashanka, as well as our Logistics Co-ordinator, Antony, and other members of the Mission Rabies India team. It was a hugely inspiring visit and made me even more certain that as a united force we can really take on rabies in India and save lives. Meanwhile, our CEO, Luke, and WVS Managing Director, James, were packing for two weeks on the road, visiting Dogs Trust rehoming centres, vet schools, veterinary specialist referral centres and even a local Dorset primary school to test drive the truck on UK roads before it hits India and to show off the superb onboard facilities to as many of our generous donors and sponsors as possible.

The UK truck tour was a huge success and generated a massive amount of interest and support. You can see a snippet of the tour, featured on BBC Dorset, by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-22855321

With the excitement of the truck tour over, it was time for the WVS UK team to get together today for the final packing of the truck – taking apart, checking and carefully storing the life-saving veterinary equipment, ready for the truck to depart by ship for a month-long sail to India beginning next week. It will next touch dry land in Mumbai, ready for the Mission to begin!

Post by Luke Gamble on  10th  June  2013

The first operation!

The first operation in the Mission Rabies truck!

Post by James Tubb on  31st  May  2013

The Mission Rabies UK launch

The Mission Rabies truck at the Harefield Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre for the launch of the campaign to sponsors and partners


Post by Luke Gamble on  29th  May  2013

The collection of the beast

The Mission Rabies Truck is ready and being collected for the start of the UK tour!

Post by Luke Gamble on  21st  May  2013

The beast is ready to roooaaarrr

Time is marching on – only three and a half months before the launch! Biggest news is that the truck of power is ready to be picked up on Friday!! A huge yellow beast with a 6-cylinder in-line 7.2 litre engine (326hp), delivering 240 kW with a maximum torque of 1300 Nm at engine speeds from 1200 to 1600 rpm…. or so I am told. Most importantly it has loads of lights, a siren and a massive horn. Winner. Just have to figure out how to turn it on and we'll be away…

First stop will be central London. Always a good idea to pick up a 25tonne truck and take it for a spin somewhere challenging. It won't be a patch on what we'll experience in India and we need to get some practice in before we head over! We have a photoshoot at Marble Arch and then off on a tour of the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres, UK Vet schools and a couple of the top referral veterinary practices who are all kindly sponsoring us. If we scratch it, we'll be in trouble so here's hoping we don't have anymore 'wing mirror incidents' as per the driving course…. Look forward to letting you know how the first drive goes!

Post by Kate Shervell on  1st  April  2013

We're on the road!

After months of preparations, the Mission Rabies truck is about to set off from the workshop in Nottingham, where it has been under wraps as the amazing team at Vipex have been hard at work, building the high-spec vehicle and kitting out the state-of-the-art operating theatre. The truck looks incredible and will allow us to carry out surgical training and provide outreach veterinary care across India, as well as being a flagship to drum up support and interest from the local communities we visit.

First stop for the truck is the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress in Birmingham, UK on the 4th-7th April. The truck will be parked up outside the Congress and will be an opportunity for vets, nurses and vet students to see it for the first time, as well as chat to members of the Mission Rabies team about the project. We really hope that if you are coming to BSAVA Congress you will make time to come and say hello to us and have a look around the truck - hopefully you will be inspired to volunteer with us in September too! Have a look at the Intro page of this site to download a volunteer information pack, or email Kate Shervell at WVS for more information.

Even if you aren't able to see come and see the truck at BSAVA, we need you to get involved in making the vehicle as eye-catching as possible. 

We need your dog to be a part of the Mission Rabies team - visit our Facebook app and upload pictures of him or her to be included in the design of the truck!

the next few months we'll be busy touring the uk with the truck, visiting dogs trust centres and university vet schools, so if you see us on the road, give us a wave - we'll be hard to miss!

We hope to see you at BSAVA Congress!