Mission rabies: The capital’s canine population will be part of a 14-day vaccination programme. (Hardeep Singh)
Every dog has its day. And Ranchi’s canine population will have theirs next month.
A team of vets from London is scheduled to visit the state capital for a fortnight from September 15 to undertake a vaccination programme for strays under what is being called Mission Rabies.
The campaign by Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) — an outfit founded by British vet Luke Gamble in 2003 — has pledged to immunise 50,000 dogs in 10 targeted rabies hot spots in a month in India. The campaign is supported by the world’s most high-tech and self-sufficient mobile veterinary hospital truck.
The state capital alone has a stray population of 35,000, of which around 12,000 have already been vaccinated by HOPE and Animal Trust in association with the RMC in the past three years.
“The London team plans to vaccinate 5,000 street dogs during its stay in Ranchi till September 28,” said Praveen Ohal, a senior functionary of the Trust, which is a city-based voluntary outfit that works for canine welfare and will assist the mission team during its trip to the city.
According to Ohal, Mission Rabies is being kicked off in Nagpur (Maharashtra) on September 1. The London vets will then reach out to one city each in Jharkhand (Ranchi), Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Odisha, Assam, Bengal and Rajasthan.
Statistics available with Gamble’s WVS show that In India, at least one child dies of rabies every single hour and thousands of healthy dogs are killed because of fear of this deadly disease.
Dog bites are common in Ranchi, too, with children and women being most vulnerable to rabies.
Though the state has made arrangements for free anti-rabies vaccine at Ranchi Sadar Hospital and primary health centres, the surge in number of victims is often not easy to tackle. Sadar hospital alone tends to 20-25 cases a month.
The WVS has designed all-terrain vehicles that function as mobile veterinary hospitals. One such vehicle will roll into the state capital next month, Ohal said.
“The London team will impart surgical training to vets of our Trust for sustainable and humane management of the stray population. It will be a great learning experience.”