In a first of its kind for Bengaluru, the BBMP on August 15 launched a holistic Rabies Prevention and Control Programme, targeted at ‘Independence from Rabies’. After Goa, Bengaluru is now the second to have a Rabies Helpline in the country.
The helpline +91 6364893322 was inaugurated by Mayor Goutham Kumar and BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad. The pick-up vans were flagged off by BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Animal Husbandry and Solid Waste Management) Randeep Dev.
The helpline is expected to reduce the burden on Animal Birth Control (ABC) centres that have been attending to dog bite complaints, and have been counselling victims and coordinating around the same. It would also improve the focus on ABC and Annual Rabies Vaccination (ARV) exclusively.
BBMP has launched the initiative jointly with the civic advocacy group Citizens for Animal Birth Control. The primary objective of this programme is to make Bengaluru a rabies-free city and to reduce human-dog conflict.
Highlights of the programme
- To offer support to citizens by way of a helpline that can take calls regarding dogs showing real signs of rabies
- To attend to such cases using the facilities provided by BBMP, which include three vans as well as dog catchers with the right training and tools
- To use the helpline to coordinate between the catching team, the treating vets and the existing ABC centres who would ring-vaccinate all dogs in an area from where a suspected case has been picked up
- To test for rabies using a brain sample, in case the dog dies. This would be done at a modern, well-equipped lab
- To educate the public about the signs and treatment for rabies, as well as sensitise them about the compassionate treatment of animals
- To collate and report data for relevant future action
As part of the Prevent Rabies Campaign, the existing ABC partners will continue to focus on increasing the reach of the current ABC programme.
In a tweet, Randeep Dev said, “Based on helpline advice, citizens can upload the video/photos of the rabies-suspected dog. AH officials will examine & assign personnel to check if the dog is rabid or rabies-affected. On confirmation, suspected dog will be kept in isolation/observation for 10 days.”
This is a much-needed initiative for Bengaluru which has several animal lovers, street-dog caregivers and animal shelters. The goal is to use a combination of proactive ABC and vaccination processes to completely eradicate rabies in the city.
Organisations involved include:
- Mission Rabies founded by the World Veterinary Sciences (WVS)
- CARE, one of Bengaluru’s well-known animal shelters who are now responsible for manning the helpline, authenticating the reported cases, and directing the BBMP rabies vans to the site where a suspected case is reported
- VSWRD, CUPA, ASRA, Sarvodaya and COVA are the ABC partners who will provide support on the ring-vaccinations once a case is identified
- Dr Shrikrishna Isloor, who is a senior professor at the Government Vet College and Laboratory Director at OIE Twinned KVAFSU-CVA Rabies Diagnostic Lab
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