It all started with one man and a big dream: to help animals in some of the world's toughest places.
Luke Gamble, a veterinarian from the UK, assembled a team of friends and colleagues from the profession who pooled their expertise, time and money to form The Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS). Together, they hit the ground running, travelling internationally to champion animal welfare in the places which needed it most. They started shipping vital supplies, deploying veterinary volunteers and training local staff so animals who have no-one else turn to could receive the care they deserve.
It was there Luke saw first-hand the devastating effects of rabies on people and animals. And he was determined to do something about it.
With dogs being the reservoir of the disease, he knew that by eliminating rabies from dogs, he could prevent it being transmitted to people. As a vet, he could save the lives of people too. That's why Mission Rabies was born: to tackle a deadly, but 100% preventable disease, and save the lives of thousands of humans and dogs.
In 2013, Luke set his team the initial challenge: to vaccinate 50,000 dogs against rabies in 30 days across India. They got laughed at, no-one thought they could do it. But with the right team, Luke knew anything was possible.
Over 500 vets from 16 different countries arrived in India – where a third of the world's human rabies cases occur – to volunteer alongside local vets, animal handlers and skilled dog catchers. Working together, they caught and vaccinated as many dogs as they could. And they smashed it: over 63,000 vaccinated dogs in 30 days.
Luke started to look at how Mission Rabies could protect a whole town, city or even a state in India. And how we might do the same thing in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, focussing on Blantyre, a city that had recorded a steep rise in child rabies deaths.
We continued to run mass vaccination campaigns across the state of Goa in India, then extended the program to Malawi in Africa, and now we're tackling the issue worldwide, wherever there is rabies.
Seven years on, Goa is on track to be the first Indian state declared rabies-free, after no human rabies deaths for almost three years across the entire state.
"We make it seem some kind of dark art, this epidemiology control canine rabies. But it's not. It's actually just vaccinating enough dogs in an area to create herd immunity to eliminate that disease. And if we do that, everyone wins." - Luke
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Mission Rabies is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (1162293)
Mission Rabies USA, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization – EIN 81-5065473
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