RABIES A NEGLECTED ZOONOTIC DISEASE
Rabies causes tens of thousands of human deaths every year. More than 99% of human rabies cases are caused by dog bites.The disease is caused by a rhabdovirus and is most usually transmitted to humans by domestic dog bites [ Rabies remains a major socioeconomic and public health problem in developing countries like Uganda claiming the lives of an estimated 55,000 people each year . Annual incidence of human rabies deaths typically fall between 1 and 6 cases/100,000 people in canine rabies-endemic areas like Uganda
Rabies remains a major public health problem in Africa and Asia, although means to control and prevent the disease are available through mass dog vaccination and provision of post-exposure prophylaxis to people exposed to bites by suspect rabid animals. It has been demonstrated that elimination of dog-mediated human rabies is possible by “starting small”, engaging local communities and using successful pilot projects as momentum for expansion.
A compassionate Africa where all animals are treated with kindness and respect.
Our mission is to generate scientific knowledge that will lead to the development of evidence-led policies at local, national, regional and international levels for the prevention and control of infectious animal diseases affecting human health and animal production, welfare and health through education, advocacy and action.
The objectives Elgon Center for animal welfare and Public health are to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote kindness to all animals and birds.
2 . To promote animal health and wellness by providing comprehensive free veterinary services in Eastern Uganda’s remote and impoverished villages.
3. To control dog and cat populations (thus working toward the day when all animals have good homes and adequate care) through a strategic plan of spay/neuter, including trap-neuter-return of feral cats.
4. We work toward rabies control by providing free rabies vaccination, cooperating with local, district, national and international agencies in employing the most effective and humane rabies control strategies, and by carrying out a rabies surveillance and response program (whereby we are notified of any suspected case of rabies, confirm rabies through field testing, investigate and identify bite victims, and administer post-exposure vaccinations).
5. To promote good human-animal bonds by educating school children about the importance of animal kindness, distributing our story book (written in English and the local language), holding essay and drawing contests which promote compassion, administering.
Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organisation’s -(EWCO) focuses on veterinary service, education, and interventions.
- Animal Population Control: spay/neuter of dogs and cats, including administration of a Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats in communities around National Parks
- Animal Health and Wellness: vaccination against rabies and parvo virus, de-worming, tick and flea treatment, treatment of wounds and injuries, and removal of cancerous tumors.
- Education and Engagement: through radio broadcasts, school visits, and one-on-one training with animal ownwers, we teach people about the importance of being kind to animals, how to prevent diseases and how to groom and care for animals. we educate and empower young people to advocate for animals and animal rights.
- Hot Line for Problem Animal Rescue Animals trapped in pits, caught in snares, or otherwise in need of rescue are aided by EWCO’s rescue team. Our Field Educators also work in the village to help people take better care of their animals and to stop practices which cause suffering.
RABIES VACCINATIONS AND MOBILE ANIMAL CLINICS
Preventing animal rabies is the most important tool in controlling human rabies in urban areas. The main control measures are immunizing dogs and cats (through mass immunization campaigns) and controlling the stray dog population (through catching, sterilization and euthanasia), carried out in partnership with Uganda Veterinary Association, Uganda Small Animal Practitioners Association and Makerere University .
Anti rabies vaccination clinics provide regular vaccinations to pets and have thus contributed both to the health of the pets and to the public at large. In areas where EWCO has provided routine rabies vaccination of dogs, reported cases of rabies from both dogs and humans has reduced considerably; there almost being zero cases reported in certain regions where vaccination campaigns have been undertaken successfully.
2. ANIMAL BIRTH CONTROL (SPAY AND CASTRATION INITIATIVES)
Spay/neuter initiatives ensure a 100% birth control measure compared to other prevailing interventions. These spay/neuter campaigns reduce dog and cat populations leading to decreased incidences of reported cases of bites in addition to other detrimental human-animal encounters. The spay/neuter clinics have led to a decrease in number of stray dogs and cats 3n communities
where campaigns have been undertaken. The anti-rabies vaccinations and spay/neuter clinics, coupled with community sensitisation, work in synergy to decrease animal suffering, educate local populations on the benefits of rabies vaccination and pet sterilization; and to eventually eliminate all incidences of dog, cat and human rabies attacks within the areas where rabies is being addressed.
3. CAPACITY BUILDING
Elgon Wildlife Conservation -EWCO works in partnership with Uganda Veterinary Association to deliver specialized training to animal health care providers like Veterinarians, Veterinary and Para- veterinary students and our trainings include :
- Animal handling and vaccination Training of personnel to safely catch and vaccinate dogs since animal handling more so for stray dogs and cats prevents a biggest challenge in the rabies vaccination programs country wide. We tailor our field training courses with a focus on safe animal handling and vaccination techniques
- Rabies diagnosis Training We work in close collaboration with the Uganda Veterinary Association and Makerere University College of veterinary Medicine to conduct practical training of veterinary and medical laboratory staff/Personnel and field staff in sample collection, transport and the appropriate use of rabies diagnostic tests For medical personnel our trainings aim to raise awareness on Human pre- and postexposure prophylaxis Immediate,and appropriate wound management which is essential to prevent rabies infections in humans following suspect exposures. Pre- and post-exposure rabies vaccinations are most cost–effective when administered intradermally.
- Community education Community engagement ; We work closely with communities as this allows for self-sustaining solutions. We Support these communities with educational tools and opportunities to engage so as to build a block for success. We aim to increase Community education to raise awareness of the importance of rabies prevention.We tailor our training courses on community education and awareness in addition to Facilitation of stakeholder and technical workshops relevant to Rabies control .
- Technical support – We believe that strategic planning and development Providing assistance to governments and groups with strategic and operational planning will ensure the success and sustainability of the rabies elimination initiative through Support for strategic and operational planning , implementation of the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination tool. Our focus is mainly Providing technical support for mass dog vaccination campaigns Strategic, well-planned mass dog vaccination campaigns are an effective way to break the cycle of rabies transmission from dogs to humans. Human rabies is preventable by vaccinating 70% of the canine population in high-risk corridors and source areas.
- Rabies surveillance support Surveillance Through our research program we aim to allow generate information that can be used for identiﬁcation of high-risk areas for rabies transmission and can assist in resource allocation for targeted interventions
- ANIMAL WELFARE AWARENESS, RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organization works to build awareness of the World Animal Health (OIE) standards for animal welfare, to the purpose of improving animal welfare during slaughter, transport and farming. We do this by developing resources, running workshops and conducting important research and promoting the importance of scientific understanding in animal welfare advocacy. We specialize in animal welfare outreach and communication, and educational resource creation and research.
Dr. James Watuwa is a member of the research collaboration team between University of Minnesota and Makerere University, currently conducting research on Tuberclosis a zoonotic disease in abattoir animals and workers in Kampala Uganda .Check our work at https://globalhealthcenter.umn.edu/news/team-1-completes-sample-collection-kampala-abattoirs
We aim to conduct high quality scientific research on policy relevant topics within the context of animal production, welfare and health, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. As a unique but vital component of this project, we are undertaking simultaneous research to better understand how international initiatives can support stakeholders to improve animal welfare across cultures in Uganda.
By better understanding the landscape where it applies to animal welfare in each region , and better understanding the key stakeholders making decisions at critical moments of welfare (such as slaughter, during transport, and during farming), we can aid in the creation of initiatives that are more applicable, more engaging and therefore more likely to make real world differences.
Elgon Wildlife Conservation(EWCO) demonstrates a hands-on approach to upholding World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards on animal welfare. These are internationally accepted practices agreed upon by all member states to be the bare minimum for animal welfare in each country. As such EWCO works with various governments, communities and stake holders to support the enforcement of these regulations and observation of these standards in our program areas.
Dr. James Watuwa administering treatment to a Rhino at Ziwa Rhino Ranch
Bottle feeding a rescued elephant calf at Entebbe Zoo
The animal welfare needs within Uganda are enormous. However Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organisation in full recognition of the situation and its limitations thereof- supports this course by focusing largely on provision of veterinary care to endangered species like Gorillas ,primates ,Apes and other wildlife , companion animals, working animals and production animals.
ANIMAL WELFARE AND EDUCATION
Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organization employs various initiatives to specific target
groups in the most effective way. EWCO has therefore developed (through collaborations with Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Wildlife and Education Centre , Makerere university elaborate training seminars, workshops and conferences and campaigns to serve as platforms for equipping officers from various government authorities, institutions of higher learning and like-minded civil society organizations with adequate and up-to-date knowledge on animal welfare standards and policies. Evidence from various research has indicated that experiences and lessons learned at a tender age influences the morals of the individuals even at adulthood. It is in the backdrop of this that we undertake various initiatives in schools to impart basic concepts on animal welfare in children aged between 7 and 13 years. Ultimately a generation compassionate to animals will be ideally achieved. To successfully achieve our impact to those relatively older (those within the youth bracket) our thought process as mentioned earlier focuses on a collaborative approach with like-minded public and private institutions and organizations wheret
this target audience is found.
The general understanding and perception of animal welfare in the community at large is wanting. This is best addressed by creating awareness on the best animal welfare standards and how they can be upheld. We endeavor to equip the communities we work with on innovative ways of supporting their animals to ensure that the ‘output/productivity’ of these animals is not in any way to their detriment or that of the farmer. This is achieved through various approaches such as social media, audio visual aides, publications, branded promotional merchandize.
| OTHER SERVICES AT THE CENTRE
The Center provides various animal welfare services to the community including: