There are around 16,000 stray dogs living on the streets of Kabul. Sadly, rabies is rife. This disease is 100% preventable through vaccination but, once symptoms appear, is almost always fatal for dogs.
Dogs can pass rabies onto humans and, in 2015, the World Health Organisation reported 1,768 human deaths from rabies in Afghanistan. The Afghan government lacked the resources to vaccinate enough of the dog population to achieve herd immunity. As a result, they had resorted to culling dogs to protect citizens.
In 2018, Mayhew International started a programme of vaccination and education. By vaccinating around 80% of the local dog population for five years in a row, they hope to eradicate rabies in the region – forever. At the same time, the charity runs a Helpline for citizens to report infected dogs, as well as outreach in schools and the community to build back trust and love between humans and dogs.
By funding this program, we are helping stop the avoidable, immediate suffering of thousands of dogs – both from catching rabies, and from culling. But what’s so brilliant about Mayhew is that it aligns with our goal to improve animal welfare in the long term by raising awareness and educating the community.
Our donation will pay for 30,000 vaccinations in 2020 and 2021 – which means we’re funding years three and four of the five years that Mayhew needs to eradicate rabies in Kabul. We’re also supporting the charity’s Helpline and their community outreach work, which is critical to achieving long-term wellbeing for dogs.
The project is spearheaded by Dr Abdul Jalil Mohammadzai DVM. Dr. Mo, as he is known, was born in Afghanistan and trained as a vet in Kabul before fleeing to the UK when the Taliban took power. Today, he leads a local team of mostly Afghan citizens. You can find out lots more about this amazing organisation on the foundation's website.