Mission Rabies has been working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2019 when we launched our first rabies vaccination campaign, vaccinating 6,400 animals in just 10 days with six teams!
When the pandemic prevented us from conducting a province-wide rabies vaccination campaign in 2020, we knew what we had to do to continue our work and protect the communities of Phnom Penh Province. The answer was education!
Education Saves Lives
The simple act of teaching someone to treat their bite wound by washing it with soap and water and then going to a doctor to receive post-exposure vaccinations saves many lives every year. Mission Rabies aimed to get this information out to as many children across Phnom Penh as possible.
Sustainability is a crucial aspect to every one of our projects, so we started by reaching out to the School Health Department of the Ministry of Youth, Education and Sports to see how we could combine our existing rabies lessons with the current education framework in Cambodia. The School Health Department were very enthusiastic about the project, and we decided that the best way for us to get these lifesaving rabies lessons out to as many children as possible would be to teach the teachers first.
A teach-the-teachers method of education ensures that not only are children taught about rabies in their classes, but their teachers have the knowledge to repeat this lesson across many classes over many years, making the projects more sustainable.
Working with the School Health Department, our Khmer Rabies Education Manager spent the next few weeks adapting the existing Mission Rabies lessons to suit what life is like for dogs and humans in Cambodia. They then worked with our graphics team to translate and design rabies information leaflets, posters, lesson plans for two different age groups and a video lesson.
Our Key Messages
Each of the rabies lessons covered the following topics:
- Rabies is serious! (information about rabies transmission)
- Stopping a dog bite (Basic dog behaviour and bite prevention).
- Rabies first aid (Washing the wound for 15 minutes and seeking vaccine)
- Rabies is preventable (The importance of dog vaccination and advertising the upcoming clinics.)
Once all the education materials were ready, the educators from the School Health Department spent 2 weeks going into 47 schools across Phnom Penh City, running rabies lesson workshops with 2,100 teachers.
The next step was for the teachers to use the resources we provided them and spread the rabies lessons to their students. Mission Rabies were sent back frequent progress reports over the next two weeks with some brilliant photos of the classes taking place and numbers of students that these lessons reached.
The project managed to deliver lifesaving rabies lessons to 58,392 students!
A big thank you to all of our collaborative partners for this project, The School Health Department (MoYES), The General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (MAFF), Animal Rescue Cambodia and MSD Animal Health, we couldn’t have done this without all of your dedication.