Anna (left) and Chunde (crouching at right) visit the class at Nangale Village Primary School. Notice the One World Futbol in the center!
Today, Chunde and I took a tiny break from dog data collection to have some fun visiting the Nangale Village Primary School. Every year, we visit schools in all of our four study villages to teach children about rabies awareness and wound treatment as well as encourage children to stay in school. Raising awareness about rabies is extremely important, especially for children, as children are most frequently the victims of dog bites and rabies due to their increased contact with dogs.
During these school visits, Chunde and I talk to children about rabies and encourage them to bring their dogs and cats to the annual village vaccination day. Rabies is fatal and is a major public health concern in rural communities, such as Nangale, without regular access to hospitals.
We explain to kids that if they are ever bitten by a dog, they should tell their parents and/or teachers and go to a hospital for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. We also discuss the importance of washing dog-bite wounds (and any wounds or injuries, for that matter) with "Maji mengi na sabuni!!" (plenty of water and soap). Finally, we remind everyone to study hard and stay in school—many of these students come from families that have never finished primary school.
Chunde talks to the class about rabies awareness and the benefits of staying in school.
As a special village thank you for participating in our study and vaccination program, listening to us and helping us with our research (because kids are responsible for dogs, they are usually our best helpers!), we donate pencils and indestructible One World Futbol soccer balls to the school. These visits are a great way to increase rabies awareness and help fulfill our mission for safeguarding the Serengeti ecosystem against rabies—not just the animals, people too!
The kids show off the pencils Anna brought!
Plus, the kids are always a joy :)
A research associate in the zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, Anna Czupryna studies domestic dog population dynamics near Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Her work is one part of a zoo-led vaccination campaign that protects the region’s people, pets and predators.