Sakshi Dhoni, wife of Indian team’s limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, created awareness about rabies and the dos and don’ts in case of a dog bite in Ranchi on Friday.
The campaign is part of an effort to make Ranchi rabies-free. Animal lover Sakshi is the brand ambassador of UK-based NGO, Mission Rabies, which has taken the initiative.
“Our mission is to make the city rabies free by next year. We started this drive last year in November and the number of unvaccinated dogs has come down from more than to 50,000 to 26,000,” said Sakshi.
She said their team has also been educating thousands of schoolchildren in Ranchi. “We had launched a hotline number last year where people can inform us about any rabies-infected dog after which our team takes action accordingly,” said Sakshi.
Jharkhand has about 50,000 stray dogs. Across the state, hospitals and health centres report an average of 75 to 125 dog bites per day. Till December last year, the state had reported around 36,000 dog bite cases.
Owing to a shortage of antirabies injections at government health centres, poor victims go to quacks and sorcerers thereby risking their lives. The state has no official data on deaths caused due to dog bites.
Ever since Mission Rabies began its intervention supported by Sakshi, conditions have been improving. The NGO members sterilise about 15 to 20 street dogs per day. In Ranchi, they claim to have sterilised 73% of the dogs, which is higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO) norm.
Sakshi and her team have resolved to accomplish the 50,000 target by next year end. According to the international director of Mission Rabies, Dr Kate Shervell, during the past 10 days, around 4,000 dogs have been vaccinated in Ranchi.
Shervell said that till last year, the rabies hotline used to receive at least one call every month for treatment of rabies-affected dogs but they have received no cases since April 2015. “Since we started the programme, the response of the local people has been great. The municipal corporation and the state animal husbandry department have also supported us in the drive,” said Shervell.
The team conducted an awareness drive with a mobile hospital truck for dogs in Khunti on Friday. Courtesy their initiative, 15 stray dogs have been adopted by families.