Did you know that rabies kills tens of thousands of people per year?
In India, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 humans die per year of rabies. This is the highest death rate by rabies in the world. Rabies is referred to as a “neglected disease” because it is 100% preventable but not enough is being done about it.
The disease mostly affects the poor. One study showed that 54% of people surveyed in urban slums in India, did not know that rabies was a disease, proving that education is a big part of the solution.
Another inhibitor to eliminating the disease is making the post exposure vaccinations easily accessible. Clinics/hospitals everywhere need to be able to provide vaccines and immunoglobulin, if necessary, and either make it free or inexpensive for those who have been bitten. From a preventative point of view, India needs to vaccinate 70% of the dogs for rabies. In a country where 35 million is the estimate for the amount of stray dogs, this is no easy task. But with limited intervention by the government, and NGOs sparsely scattered across the country, India falls short.
The United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals include the aim to end the epidemics of neglected tropical diseases, including rabies, by 2030, but they can’t do it alone.
So what can we do to help?
Follow these steps below to become a rabies expert and advocate and help to end this horrible yet preventable disease:
- Take the Quiz – To get yourself prepared to talk about rabies to your community and local authorities, DAR has put together a quiz to test your knowledge. Click HERE to take the quiz and see what you know. Make sure to share it with your friends and neighbors.
- Start an Email or Postcard Campaign – Alert your local media and government that it is not acceptable to have people dying from rabies when it is 100% preventable. Here is a sample card that you can print out and address. Just click to download.
3. Donate – Just 1000 RS ($16) vaccinates five dogs. So join us, and lets make India a safer place for animals and people.
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About the author
Founder/Executive Director - Dharamsala Animal Rescue
Deb Jarrett, at age 40, decided her life needed some shaking up. In fact, she needed to rattle her brains a bit. She was done climbing the corporate ladder, paying mortgages and internet dating—so she quit her job and moved to India to help animals. Not to be confused with Elizabeth Gilbert, at this point in her life, Deb had done just about all of the self discovery she so desired on therapist couches, yoga retreats, and spiritual workshops. In fact, she Eats very carefully, due to the risk of bacteria and parasites. She no longer Prays after experiencing the harsh reality of the developing world on a day-to-day basis and believes compassionate action is the answer. However, she did find Love with a younger Indian man. You can find more of her writing and learn about her work with animals on her website.