Vaccinating against rabies in four African countries


Together, we're working to create better lives for dogs across Africa.

Using our current approach, we estimate that we will improve the lives of 15 million dogs by 2020.

In August this year, we were in Makueni County, Kenya to oversee a small rabies vaccination drive.In Sierra Leone, where the pilot is ongoing, 1,975 dogs have been vaccinated and 629 sterilised to date. In Zimbabwe, a pilot region has been identified and work initiated. So far, 5,128 dogs and 34 cats have been vaccinated. In Zanzibar, we've achieved 45% coverage with 4,044 dogs vaccinated so far this year. 

Image credit: Michael Duff

Training the trainers

As part of our better lives for dogs campaign, we also helped educate more than 180 teachers from 30 schools in Makueni County, Kenya. These teachers have been given guidance on how to teach students about responsible pet ownership. This is a crucial step in helping control dog populations. 

Counting the Cost

Rabies is the only virus in the world with a nearly 100% (95%) death rate, killing 59,000 people a year. Many more dogs suffer a painful slow death from this terrible disease. Rabies leaves a harsh legacy of serious economic costs and psychological trauma. Losing dogs to rabies also increases people’s psychological and economic vulnerability. In rural communities, dogs typically provide companionship and support their owners’ livelihoods by providing security and herding livestock. 

Tragically, the fear of rabies also results in the cruel culling of thousands of dogs every year.

Creating better lives for dogs

CEO Steve McIvor said;

“Mass killing of dogs does not stop rabies, but vaccination and proper management of dogs does. We must ensure communities are looking after their dogs and not cruelly killing them in a futile attempt to control a rabies outbreak.

“Mass vaccination and responsible ownership of dogs will not just eliminate rabies – it will eliminate the fear of rabies and change the negative perception people have of dogs.” 

The work done throughout 2018 across these four African countries is a promising result towards the goal of eradicating rabies and protecting dogs in communities. Using our current approach, we estimate that we will improve the lives of 15 million dogs by 2020. Follow this link to find out more about our work with dogs and to stay updated on our projects for 2019.