Mission Rabies, a charity set up by UK veterinarian Luke Gamble to help to eliminate rabies, has received a grant from the Rotary Foundation, a global organization based in the USA, to support its rabies-control projects in Goa, India.
The grant was initiated by three Rotary Clubs in Gainesville, Florida, USA, in partnership with the Panaji Mid Town Rotary Club and four other Rotary Clubs in Goa. It will provide vehicles and driver salaries for Mission Rabies’ vaccination projects in the Indian state.
To date, more than 187,554 dogs have been vaccinated as part of the campaign which began in 2014 with the goal of making Goa rabies-free.
Gainesville Rotarian Colin Burrows worked with colleagues to secure the grant. A past president of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Burrows is also trustee of Mission Rabies USA.
“Globally, at least one child dies from rabies every nine minutes,” Burrows said. “Thousands of animals also die an agonizing death. The vast majority of human deaths are caused by bites from infected dogs and it has been shown that human cases can be significantly reduced by vaccinating the dogs, a much more cost-effective option than vaccinating people.”
“When I heard a past Rotary District Governor tell us that the battle against polio was almost over, I wondered if we might encourage Rotary to join the fight against rabies. Our then Rotary Club president encouraged me to lead an effort to submit a global grant request to the Rotary Foundation. We found other Rotary Clubs and Rotary Club partners in Goa willing to support our grant submission and I’m delighted that the grant has now been awarded. I’m grateful to my Rotarian colleagues and hope that other Rotary Clubs from around the world will also come together to support Mission Rabies’ work.”
“Mission Rabies is indebted to the Rotary Foundation for its generous support. This grant will provide a dedicated Goa state rabies response team which will strengthen our efforts to safeguard human and animal health by eliminating Rabies completely from Goa,” Gamble said. “We are also grateful for the continuing support we have received from the WSAVA and the WSAVA Foundation. They have been behind us from the start and we greatly value the contribution they have made to our work and the strong collaborative relationship we have established. “We look forward to continuing to work with them and with other stakeholders to ensure that we meet the OIE’s goal to eliminate human rabies by 2030.”