WSAVA, 22 November 2019 — The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with charity Mission Rabies. The organizations, which have worked together informally for several years, will now collaborate on a joint action plan to contribute to global efforts to eliminate dog bite-transmitted rabies through a research-driven One Health approach.
Under the MoU, the WSAVA will also become an observer of the International Rabies Taskforce (IRT), which aims to provide practical expertise and guidance to support governments to plan and grow successful, cost-effective rabies elimination strategies. The IRT is committed to the goal it shares with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Global Alliance for Rabies Control of eliminating human deaths due to canine-mediated rabies deaths by 2030.
The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 113 member associations and lobbies on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide. It has clinical committees focusing both on vaccination and on One Health and has worked with Mission Rabies on a variety of projects in recent years. The WSAVA Foundation, its charitable foundation, raises funds for Mission Rabies, most notably at its annual ‘Fun(d) Run’ which takes place during WSAVA World Congress. Funds raised by the WSAVA Foundation have supported projects such as a mass-vaccination project in Bosomtwe District in central Ghana earlier this year during which 4,370 dogs were vaccinated against rabies in a collaboration between the local government and Mission Rabies.
Mission Rabies is a UK-based charity led by veterinarian Dr Luke Gamble, the recipient of the WSAVA’s 2016 One Health Award. Following international guidelines established by WHO, OIE and FAO, the charity runs mass dog vaccination and community education campaigns, as well as rabies surveillance improvement in the world’s worst rabies hotspots.
Commenting on the MoU and their future plans, Emeritus Professor Michael Day, Honorary Treasurer of the WSAVA and a Trustee of Mission Rabies, said: “The WSAVA and the WSAVA Foundation have worked closely with Mission Rabies over several years and rabies control is a key element of the work of our One Health Committee and Vaccination Guidelines Group. With launch of the IRT, it is an opportune time to formalize our relationship so that we can work together to maximize the involvement of our small animal veterinary community in this major global push to eliminate canine rabies.”
Dr Frédéric Lohr, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Mission Rabies, added: “The veterinary community plays a crucial role in global rabies elimination. Our partnership with WSAVA will enable veterinarians to actively participate in the fight against this horrible disease.”