OTJIWARONGO, Namibia – 26 September 2020 – On Thursday, 24 September, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) hosted a vaccination clinic at Queen Sofia, a resettlement farm in the Outjo District, to help drive awareness for World Rabies Day, which is commemorated each year on 28 September. The theme of this year’s World Rabies Day is End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate.
To prepare communities like Queen Sofia for this occasion, CCF set up an exhibit to generate awareness for rabies prevention and a held a veterinary clinic to provide free rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. CCF reports that over 50 people participated in the event and 67 dogs were vaccinated.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease transmitted by dog bites (pet dogs, street dogs and jackals), and it can be passed on to other animals or to people. This disease is a problem affecting Namibian wildlife, and according to the World Health Organisation, more than 99% of human deaths are caused by dog-mediated rabies, as domestic dogs are the most common reservoir of the virus. Rabies is a preventable disease. One of the best ways to promote its contraction in wildlife, and prevention in humans, is to encourage vaccination of domestic animals, along with education and awareness.
The awareness event and vaccination clinic at Queen Sofia are part of CCF’s ongoing One Health Campaign. Last month, CCF vaccinated a total of 108 dogs and 35 cats in the Eastern communal conservancies of the Okakarara District. In 2019, CCF vaccinated more than 1,000 dogs and cats in the same area.
“We are always very excited by the overwhelming response we receive from community members when CCF holds rabies vaccination clinics and awareness events. This tells us there is a huge need for these services in the communal conservancies near the CCF Centre, particularly in the Eastern regions”, said Dr Laurie Marker, CCF Founder and Executive Director.
CCF’s One Health Campaign and Rabies Vaccination Clinics are made possible by the Foundation for Human Rabies Education and Eradication (FHREE), a CCF partner under the direction of Dr. Martine Work, an epidemiologist and Executive Director of the FHREE. The DEBMARINE – NAMDEB Foundation in Namibia, have also supported CCF’s One Health Campaign by donating the disposable veterinary supplies used for the vaccination clinic.
“CCF’s vaccination clinics through the One Health Campaign has brought veterinary services closer to remote communities such as Queen Sofia, and in doing so we are meeting the government half way towards eradication of zoonotic diseases in Namibia”, said Dr Paul Set, CCF Veterinarian.
Research and Education Manager, Annetjie Siyaya said, “Economic benefits from livestock farming are only possible through an integrated approach, and livestock health is a big part of this approach, hence the rabies awareness & vaccination clinic at Queen Sofia Farm. We also shared and provided information on wildlife, especially predators and their importance in Namibian ecosystems”.
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Cheetah Conservation Fund
Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia with an outpost located in Somaliland. CCF is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful cheetah conservation organisation. For more information, please visit www.cheetah.org.
Annetjie Siyaya, firstname.lastname@example.org or +264 81 822 8657
Susan Yannetti, email@example.com or +12027167756