The charity Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) is asking for volunteers to help it deliver a five-day dog vaccination campaign in the Mumbai region of India in February 2024.
Part of the Mission Rabies project, the campaign will see stray days vaccinated against rabies throughout the city and surrounding neighbourhoods.
Around 20,000 people die from rabies in India each year – a third of the global total. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 60 per cent of those who die in India are children under 15 years old. Most cases are caused by infected dog bites.
The vaccination drive is part of a national plan to end human rabies deaths in India by 2030.
Mission Rabies has previously had success in the Indian state of Goa, where a long-term dog vaccination effort has helped control the disease. There have been no human rabies deaths in the state since 2018.
Dr Luke Gamble, founder and chief executive of WVS, said: "In a world where rabies still tragically claims tens of thousands of lives every year, mostly in children, we have the power to prevent this.
“Nearly all human rabies cases stem from infected dog bites, a stark reality that drives our relentless pursuit to combat this disease at its very root. Our groundbreaking work in Goa has not only shown that it's possible to eliminate canine rabies but also to safeguard human lives from this entirely preventable yet devastating disease.
“The Mumbai initiative marks a pivotal moment in our journey, an ambitious step towards a rabies-free future in India.”
Details about how to volunteer can be found on the Mission Rabies website.
Image © Mission Rabies