2020 has been our most challenging yet. But the pandemic did not stop us.
The World Health Organization singled out canine vaccination and dog bite response as essential services that should continue where possible in a safe way throughout the pandemic. So, working in collaboration with local governments, we were able to press on with our life-saving work, and so much more. We were granted special permission to perform investigations of suspect rabies cases, rescue sick and injured animals, as well as provide hundreds of strays with much-needed food.
That's how in 2020, with your vital support, we achieved one of most successful years yet, vaccinating 197,008 dogs against rabies and delivering rabies prevention lessons to 765,420 children.
Read on to learn more about our work throughout the pandemic.
Animal Rescue: An Essential Service
With most animal welfare organisations in Goa, India, unable to continue their normal work in the lockdown, we filled the void. We responded to reports of animals in need, thereby safeguarding the wellbeing of many dogs who otherwise would have been left to suffer. Between April and June, we attended to and treated 165 cases of animal injuries, accidents and illnesses.
Feeding Taskforce: Lockdown Heroes
Lockdowns removed the regular food sources of hundreds of dogs overnight. Our teams in India began daily feeds to support a large number of dogs on the empty streets and fishing ports, who were now at risk of starving. For months, they baked home-made dog biscuits, cooked large quantities of rice, and provided free-roaming dogs with the sustenance - and the regular human interaction - they needed to get through the lockdown.
Full Power: COVID-Secure Vaccinations
We adapted our large-scale vaccination programmes to incorporate all preventative measures to limit the risk of coronavirus transmission, including handwashing stations, facemasks for all staff as well as social-distanced queues regulated by queue marshals. Whilst following government guidelines strictly, the hard-working team managed to reach a record-breaking number of vaccinations and maintained at least 70% vaccination cover.
Changing Tack: Rabies Awareness
We shifted the way we delivered our rabies prevention lessons, developing creative and COVID-safe methods to engage people at-risk. In Malawi, we did this by rolling our preventative teacher-training to reduce the risk of transmission between schools and going door-to-door to encourage pet owners to take part in the vaccination campaign, and act to support rabies control.
If you can, please consider making a donation today to support our life-saving work. Your donation will go directly where it is needed most - protecting communities in rabies hotspots worldwide with vaccine drives, life-saving lessons and 24/7 rabies surveillance and rapid response teams.