HALI and FORS partner for World Rabies Day

The Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) Project is proud to partner with the Friends of Ruaha Society (FORS), for World Rabies Day 2008.  The partnership allows for HALI’s veterinary medicine and health expertise to be enhanced by FORS education and outreach experience, in order to deliver a rabies education and awareness program to the Makifu Village and surrounding communities on September 28th.

FORS has been active in the Ruaha region since 1984, and is focusing on environmental education to increase awareness and appreciation of the environment, ensure that benefits from wildlife reach local communities, and in general, to search for new balances between people, animals, and the environment.

HALI, now entering its third year, is excited about moving from research to intervention activities, and is preparing several promotional events leading up to the World Rabies Day program.  HALI Field Coordinator Dr. Harrison Sadiki, will be featured on a Kiswahili EbonyFM radio program from 2-4:00pm on the 21st of September.  The radio program will essentially provide an overview of rabies in the rural Tanzanian context, with special emphasis on human, animal, and wildlife protection from the disease. A podcast of the program, featuring an interview with Dr. Sadiki for our English audience, will be posted to the blog following the show.

World Rabies Day Program Update

Last Friday, the HALI team, along with Magreth Fadhili, program manager at FORS, traveled to Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Mahuninga villages to discuss the World Rabies Day program with village leaders, school headmasters, and district livestock officers.  The community was in general very enthusiastic about the program, offering advice and feedback on program deliverables and structure.

As is stands currently, HALI and FORS plan to show an educational video on rabies acquired from the Iringa District Veterinary Office, along with a presentation by HALI team member Howard Kombe on the rabies virus, and how to protect yourself and the community from infection.  FORS is developing an evaluation tool to measure the effectiveness of the program in delivering the intended educational and conservation messages, with the hope that feedback will help to leverage more district level support for vaccination programs in the area.

The program villages, Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Mahuninga, lie in near proximity to Ruaha National Park, an important habitat and conservation area for many keystone species, including African wild dogs.  As recently as early August, a pack of wild dogs was seen drinking from the Tungamalenga River, just outside of village limits.  The proximity of these animals to domestic dogs drastically increases the risks of rabies transmission.  Protecting  wildlife and domestic animals from rabies is critical to promoting healthy livelihoods in the Ruaha ecosystem, where humans, domestic animals, and wildlife share dwindling water resources and forage, and especially critical to the conservation agenda of both HALI and FORS.

BBC Video Link: A rabies outbreak in Ithumba elephant reserve could spell disaster

Embedding of BBC Videos is unavailable.  Please use the hyperlink above to access the film.


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