The world has feared and fought rabies for thousands of years. But today, the fight has been revolutionised with a modern secret weapon: smartphone technology.
Catching and vaccinating dogs in rabies hotspots is one thing – but coordinating and monitoring this work on a large scale is another. Where rabies is prevalent, geography, hard-to-reach dog populations and limited infrastructure create obstacles for large-scale field work.
To eliminate rabies through mass canine vaccination, we needed to transform the way vaccination campaigns were being carried out in developing countries. We needed a 21st century solution to solve a biblical problem: A Mission Rabies App.
For the past six years, we have worked tirelessly to harness a data collection App into a rabies fighting machine. The result: a state-of-the-art epidemiological application that allows us to record every vaccine given – and so much more.
Now, the cloud-based system enables us to effectively manage and measure our field work in close to real-time. We can record the number of vaccinations administered, the number of animals rescued along with the GPS location of any rabid dogs and consequently, map disease outbreaks, enabling a focused response.
Through the App, a single central manager can steer the vaccination teams through a working region, assigning individuals to specific areas and navigating teams efficiently to ensure no area is repeated or missed. It's an innovative way to ensure that wherever we are, we're carrying out our vaccination work in a scientific way and reaching the 70% of the dog population required to break the disease cycle. An independent evaluation of the system demonstrated that using the app resulted in a doubling of vaccination coverage as compared to traditional methods; the difference between controlling rabies and not.
The App is now not only used by our teams, but by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), amongst other organisations and NGOs, and has improved the management of field rabies control efforts globally. It's revolutionised the way we manage rabies outbreaks, disease surveillance, reduce money spent on post-exposure prophylaxis and, ultimately, eliminate the virus.
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Mission Rabies USA, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization – EIN 81-5065473
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