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PA/16 /12 22 June 2012
AUSTRALIAN VETS TO HELP COMBAT RABIES
Australian vets will assist their Indian counterparts to combat rabies under a program launched on 18 June.
VetTrain 2012 is a veterinary training program formulated by Vets Beyond Borders (an Australian NGO) with support from the University of Queensland Veterinary School and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
VetTrain is a year-long program designed to increase the skills of Indian vets, vet assistants, dog catchers and program managers to effectively carry out anti-rabies programs by mass vaccination and sterilization of street dogs. The main cause of rabies in humans is bites by infected dogs.
Vets Beyond Borders and the Animal Welfare Board of India pioneered the training programs in 2009. This is the first time the Australian Government, through its aid agency AusAID, is funding the program.
Vets Beyond Borders has been working with the Government of Sikkim since 2005 on a state-wide rabies prevention program. Dr Catherine Schuetze, Executive Director, Vets Beyond Borders India, said the training and prevention program had been extremely successful. There had been no human rabies deaths in Sikkim since 2008 and no animal rabies cases since 2010.
VetTrain 2012 plans to provide training to around 600 animal health professionals from all across India until April 2013 in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Board of India, gradually transferring capacity building skills and expertise to Indian public sector personnel.
Dr Schuetze said “the Government of India has recognised rabies as the No. 1 zoonotic disease (a disease spread from animals to humans) in the upcoming 12th Five Year Plan. The University of Queensland is excited to be involved in this program and wants to develop strong linkages and research collaborations with their veterinary counterparts in India.”
She further added, “The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that out of 50,000 rabies deaths per year in the whole world, more than 20,000 have been reported in India alone, which is close to half of the world’s rabies deaths.”
For more information, please contact Dr Catherine Schuetze, Executive Director, Vets Beyond Borders India at (0)9816649149, email@example.com.