Blantyre, Malawi August 31, 2016
Rabies doesn’t often make U.S. headlines, but it still poses a huge problem globally. In fact, a hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, reported the highest number of child deaths due to rabies anywhere in Africa. Banfield veterinarian Dr. Megan Davis, from our location in Estero, Florida, was one of the volunteer veterinarians determined to help change that reality. For her, the motivation comes from a desire to help improve the lives of pets and humans.
“I have a passion for travel and the One Health Initiative,” Dr. Davis told Clinician’s Brief, who supported the clinics. “It is tragic that so many children are losing their lives in Malawi and around the world simply because companion animals are lacking an inexpensive vaccine.”
She was chosen by Brief Media to be among eleven volunteers to participate in this year’s vaccine drive in Malawi. The effort was coordinated nationally by Mission Rabies, a UK nonprofit dedicated to eliminating rabies from the world by 2030. According to the World Health Organization, if 70 percent of the canine population is vaccinated, within three years you will have eliminated rabies in that area.
It was no easy task to ensure pets had the vaccine — some days walking 8-10 miles for home visits in remote villages — but for Dr. Davis, it was well worth it. “I felt like I was truly making a difference knowing every dog I vaccinated could save a life.”
In the two weeks that Dr. Davis participated, they were able to vaccinate more than 19,000 dogs from the disease and educated more than 60,000 children. Mission Rabies is currently in year two of their campaign in Malawi and are already seeing a decline in cases.
“It reminded me of why I wanted to be a vet in the first place — to not only help animals, but also help humans,” Dr. Davis said.
We're proud of Dr. Davis and all the volunteers who made such a difference in this important cause.
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