Rabies education is now part of the national primary school curriculum in Malawi, an incredible development that means over 4 million children will receive the knowledge and skills needed to stay safe from this vicious disease.
Over the last few years our education programme has shown the significant difference education can make in rabies elimination. By equipping children with the skills and knowledge needed to protect themselves from this disease, we are helping to ensure dog bites are avoided and correct actions are taken if a dog bite does occur.
The unit focuses on science and includes lessons on how rabies affects Malawi, Africa and its presence in the wider world, the transmission of rabies and carrier species of the disease. Alongside this theoretical knowledge, pupils will learn about the symptoms of rabies, how to care for dog bite wounds and the importance of post-exposure vaccinations. These are lessons that have been directly used by Mission Rabies education teams during our project work and we are now working with the curriculum writers to ensure these important messages are explained fully. The addition of these lessons means dog bite incidence and ultimately, human rabies deaths, will dramatically reduce, as those at risk know how to prevent the disease.
Activities will be using a combination of class discussion, drawings and role play to demonstrate key skills and help pupils fully understand how to protect themselves from rabies. This vital knowledge about rabies will now reach the 4,434,000 children currently enrolled in primary schools across Malawi!
Below: Our Malawi Education Co-ordinator led talks with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) to reach a ground-breaking agreement for this inclusion of rabies education into the curriculum. The rabies unit is be included in both the teacher’s guide and the learner’s book for Standard 7, emphasizing the importance of learning about this deadly disease.