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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Fun Times at Nangale Primary School
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.
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!
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.
Follow Anna’s field updates on Twitter.
Serengeti Field Diaries
Lincoln Park Zoo is leading the Serengeti Health Initiative, a collaborative effort to preserve the wildlife of this African ecosystem while benefiting local people. Our Serengeti field diaries feature updates as scientists conduct vaccination efforts, collaborate with Tanzanian partners and encounter the Serengeti’s famed wildlife.
Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
An endocrinologist in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Santymire studies stress and reproduction at the zoo and in the wild.
A graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Anna is studying how rabies vaccination campaigns of domestic dogs in villages around Serengeti National Park affect population dynamics.
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