India: Triumphs in 2020

Post by

Jaigar O'Neill

April 11th 2021

It was in India in 2013 that Mission Rabies began its life-saving mission: Vaccinating dogs to save human lives.

Seven years on, Goa is on track to be the first Indian state declared rabies-free, after no human rabies deaths for almost three years across the entire state. An incredible achievement in a country that’s considered the world’s biggest hotspot for rabies.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had the potential to undo eight years of tireless work and allow the rabies virus to get the upper hand once again. However, we were able to pivot and adapt in the face of unprecedented challenges to vaccinate over 80,000 dogs, and continue to protect 1.5 million people who call Goa home.

Wins in the fight against rabies

In 2020 in Goa, India, you helped us: 

  • Vaccinate 82,012 dogs against rabies across the state
  • Educate 213,735 children in 1,461 schools on dog behaviour and dog bite first aid. That's 90% of the total schools in Goa state!
  • Reach 10,265 teachers with our key messages in rabies prevention
  • Empower 17,379 people through 333 community workshops to act as rabies control
  • Respond to 4,101 calls via our rabies emergency hotline

Saving Lives: Dog Bite Prevention 

In 2020, 28 people in Goa were bitten by dogs that tested positive for rabies, all of which were counselled through our Integrated Bite Case Management programme to receive a full course of post-exposure prophylaxis. This is out of 2,865 people who were bitten by dogs and contacted by our team to gather information about the possible risk of rabies and offer guidance. Continued public awareness of the risk of rabies and the need for treatment, as well as the need to report any animal suspected to have rabies, is key.


Delivering Key Knowledge 

Many of our conventional community awareness events were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, including large-scale events, school visits and local workshops. Yet, our education teams adapted, powered on and delivered our life-saving lesson to over 40,000 more children than in 2019.

Rabies in School Curriculum 

We participated in a curriculum review in Goa, which resulted in our rabies lessons being added to the 6th Standard Science Book, 2020 edition. The textbook was printed and distributed to all schools in the state during August. This result at the state level will provide the first step towards creating further positive change at the national level.

A New Way of Teaching 

With education taking place online, we converted our rabies prevention lesson into a format for virtual learning. We also developed easy-to-share videos, ran drawing competitions and managed seminars for key people on the frontline: bus drivers, lifeguards, police officers and railway workers, to reach more people outside the classroom.

Your support makes this life-saving work possible. Find out how you can donate, fundraise, or volunteer today, and help us eliminate rabies, for good.