At the start of December, our Goa Project Manager, Julie Corfmat, and North India Project Manager, Praveen Ohal represented Mission Rabies at the Asia For Animals conference in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Asia for Animals is the largest and longest-running forum for people working with animals in Asia and it was a brilliant platform to share our work with the wider community.
This was the 10th Animals for Asia conference and was attended by over 500 people from 190 different organisations from 45 different countries. Being the first time Mission Rabies has had representatives speaking at this event, we were proud to be able to send such great advocates.
The focus of the companion animal presentations was on changing human behaviour and the impact that this could have on the welfare of companion animals.
Praveen’s talk centred around the combined efforts of Government and private sectors in the promotion of animal welfare through mass sterilisation and vaccination. Using the examples of our partnerships with the Governments of Jharkhand and Goa state, Praveen highlighted the importance of state-level participation in the promotion of welfare campaigns to maximise community engagement.
Julie was able to draw on her extensive experience with the communities of Goa to produce a presentation on the important roles that dog owners play in the elimination of rabies. Our work in Goa state, where there is a significant number of owned dogs, means that to achieve the 70% necessary for herd immunity within a dog population, extensive sensitisation work must be done with local communities.
Factors like owner refusal of vaccination or failing to catch and safely restrain a dog can particularly hinder our work and slow our progress towards a rabies-free Goa. Therefore, we work closely with our education officers who travel ahead of our vaccination teams, educating children and community groups about the importance of rabies, the necessity of its elimination, and the steps they can take to help our teams work in the most efficient way.
We are continually striving to achieve best practices in all the work that we do. Both speakers benefitted hugely from engaging in panel discussions and swapping insights with the prominent figures in Asian animal welfare.
If you'd like to support our work towards a rabies-free Goa, please donate here.