Throughout the year, our animal handlers and vaccination team in Goa strive to reach as many dogs as possible, reducing the risk of rabies in this global disease hotspot. Split into two teams, North and South, they head out into the field directed by the WVS App to systematically work through the state, district by district.
Since the beginning of this year, the south team have been tackling Salcete whilst the north team visit Tiswadi, a much larger district. We’re excited to announce that Salcete has now been completed, totalling an incredible 30,861 vaccinations since work began here in December. This team have now moved on to neighbouring Ponda with the same aim to vaccinate as many dogs as possible and achieve the required 70% vaccination coverage.
Alongside the vaccinations, our Goa teams are always on hand to help with rescue cases, reporting any injured dogs to local NGOs or our sister charity WVS’ International Training Centre in Assagao. Last month alone, they helped facilitate the rescue and treatment of 34 injured animals. Two of these were dogs found with plastic containers stuck on their heads – this is becoming an increasing issue in Goa and one that our teams are desperately striving to change through education in the local communities.
In Tiswadi and Ponda, our team have also assisted other local NGOs with their sterilisation efforts by training their staff in correct animal handling and how to humanely catch dogs using nets. By shadowing our skilled animal handlers, these local animal welfare workers now have the skills to help even more dogs in their community.
Passing on skills and knowledge in this way is vital to ensuring the communities most at risk from rabies are kept safe while having a more positive interaction with dogs. On entering a school that is home to several free roaming dogs, our teams found a group of scouts conducting their activities there – they were incredibly keen to learn about the methods we use for catching and vaccinating dogs and we were even able to run a brief education session to help the children learn basic rabies first aid and how to spread awareness of how to prevent rabies!
Through this combination of vaccination and education efforts, our teams in Goa are inspiring the local community to help prevent rabies and bring us closer to a rabies free Goa!