Program Director: Dr. Naseem Salahuddin
Project Title: Rabies Free Karachi
Report Period: Quarter 1: January– May, 2018
Pilot Location: Ibrahim Hyderi, Bin Qasim Town, Karachi
In response to the growing concerns of dog-bite incidents in Karachi, the ‘Rabies-Free Karachi’ project under the aegis of Indus Hospital Research Center (IHRC) was formed. This is an initiative led by Dr. Naseem Salahuddin, Head of Infectious Diseases department at The Indus Hospital, Karachi.
The pilot project is implemented in Ibrahim Hyderi in collaboration with Karachi’s leading veterinarians, animal-right activists, community engagement experts, doctors and researchers.
At The Indus Hospital, 20-25 dog bite cases are reported every day. To combat this public health issue and reduce dog population, the recommended strategy is to perform Animal Birth Control (ABC) through spaying and neutering. Mass Dog Vaccination (MDV) of at least 70% of dogs in an area is suggested, which will produce herd immunity against rabies. Through community engagement sessions, dialogue can be maintained with local residents and awareness can be spread through talks, flyers and presentations.
The Welcome Address was given by Dr. Naseem Salahuddin (Program Director – RFK). She delivered a presentation to introduce the project by describing the narrative, rationale, core objectives, with a special focus on Mass Dog Vaccinations (MDV) and Animal Birth Control (ABC). Mr. Daniel Stewart, WHO Animal Behaviourist, introduced the dog-catching workshop to follow; Dr. Sara Salman spoke about WHO support for the project, and Mr. WaseemAkhtar, the city Mayor, made an inaugural address. Dr. NailaBaig-Ansari (Chair – Indus Hospital Research Center) gave the concluding remarks and emphasized the importance of this program.
Refreshments were served, followed by a field visit to the Ibrahim Hyderi surgical site where the Mayor inspected the container and cage enclosures, and formally cut the ribbon to initiate the project.
Mr. Daniel gave a lecture on knowledge, attitudes and practices. He also engaged in discussion with participants’ familiarity with vaccination of dogs: their behavior and campaign strategies along with their pros and cons. He also stressed the importance of maintaining the cold chain for the vaccines, and explained the protocol for transportation and storage of equipment.
Mr. Daniel gave a lecture on dog-handling and using equipment correctly. He also highlighted the difference in dog populations; revised the different vaccination strategies proposed; spoke about the best method to sensitize and raise awareness amongst the community members using different sources such as posters, radios and community centers.
Dr. Naseem Salahuddin gave a presentation on rabies pathophysiology rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis in humans, and Dr. Kausar Khan introduced the SALT approach (a well tested tool of participatory action research) of community engagement.
Field training began with mass dog vaccinations and animal birth control happening simultaneously. Mr. Daniel gave lectures on various topics such as observing dog behavior and how to vaccinate dogs correctly (trap, catch, inject, spray-paint, release).
Field training resumed. There were door to door vaccinations, with a focus on community owned and free-roaming dogs.
There was a discussion of the prior days’ training to focus on what worked well and what can be improved upon in terms of mass dog vaccinations. Group exercises in the classroom were facilitated by Mr. Daniel, who also educated participated on bite prevention. He also spoke about the importance of responsible dog ownership and provision of food and water to dogs that are in rehabilitative care after surgery.
A training session took place inside an Ibrahim Hyderi school, where young students were made aware about the project and its importance. Later in the day, there was a discussion on field activities and vaccination campaigns. The rest of the day was spent on the field: vaccinations and spreading awareness to the local residents.
Field activities resumed throughout the day with mass dog vaccinations and raising awareness within the community.
The closing ceremony took place inside Khaskheli Hall, Ibrahim Hyderi. The core team distributed certificates to all the participants and speeches were given by Mr. Daniel and Dr. Bernadette Abela-Ridder (Team Leader – Neglected Zoonotic Diseases in the Department of the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO). Following this, a trip to the site was made by all team members.
*Rabies Data Collector devices were used to map out GPS coordinates of the vaccinated dogs, in order to, identify regions covered and plan next route.
**A site in Ibrahim Hyderi, Bin Qasim Town, has been selected to administer operational activities. This site measures195’3’’ x 200’, and has GPS coordinates of 24°47’41.1″N 67°08’55.4″E (‘24.79476,67.1487311’ on Google Maps).
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January – May, 2018 Target Statistics
Three out of four union councils have almost been covered for Mass Dog Vaccinations by the RFK team.
As our vets have been receiving training and are familiarizing themselves with the surgery procedure, we are optimistic that the number of surgeries will rise significantly overtime.
Through the rabies data collector devices, which were used to track information about dogs’ GPS coordinates, gender and age, the following information was obtained (n=2,145). The information for the latter two variables is illustrated below:
Strategy for Quarter 2:
For more program updates, kindly access our online presence:
Core Team Members:
Dr. Naseem Salahuddin – Project Director
Dr. Naila Baig-Ansari, PhD.,Chair – Indus Hospital Research Center
Mr. Aftab Goher, Rabies Free Karachi Coordinator, TIH
Ms. Rabia Khan, Program Manager – Indus Hospital Research Center
Dr. Kausar S. Khan, PhD., Behavioral and Social Sciences – Aga Khan University
Mr. Muhammad Abdullah Qureshi, Research Associate – Indus Hospital Research Center
Dr. Isma Gheewala, Senior Veterinarian, Animal Care Center
Ms. Rashna Dubash, Animal Rightist
Mr. Zain Mustafa, President, Society for Promotion of Animal Rights (SPAR)
Dr. Waseem Hassan, Veterinary Consultant (SurgVet Clinic)
Dr. Naseem Salahuddin giving a presentation highlighting the project