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Featured Article - 14 June 2017

Educational Booklets in Pholokgolo Primary School

Thanks to a grant that the Rabies group at the University of Pretoria received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a few years ago, the Rabies Group at the University, in collaboration with GARC, were able to print, promote and distribute the ‘Want a Friend, Be a Friend’ rabies educational booklet to help spread the message of rabies awareness to children. The booklet was developed several years ago by GARC in collaboration with Netcare, South Africa and other partners. This year we printed 3,000 copies of the booklet and some of them were donated to the Onderstepoort faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Pretoria. 55 of the booklets found their way to the Pholokgolo Primary School in Ratjiepane village in North West province of South Africa thanks to a group of veterinary science students – one of many student groups that used the booklet in their community engagement module for their 3rd year curriculum.  

As part of their Veterinary Professional Life (VPL) 300 community service project, five veterinary students, Jodi Botha, Benjamin van AS, Hermanus Swart, Johann Stadler and Jeanine Odendaal travelled to the primary school to teach pupils from Grades 6 and 7 (ages 13-14) about animal handling, rabies and veterinary science in general.



One part of the presentation covered basic animal nutrition with a focus on what to feed and not to feed pets, as well as the importance of providing clean water regularly. A few items of veterinary equipment were brought along for the pupils to observe the practical experience of vet students, as many of them did not know any vets and might not have been aware that financial help was available for students to study beyond school. 

The other part of the presentation covered basic animal body language using a lot of pictures and acting skills, as there was a bit of a language barrier. Fortunately the learners were very intuitive and realised almost straight away when to avoid playing with a dog and when the dog was being friendly. The presentation ended with a skit on rabies - what to do if approached by an animal suspected of having rabies and how to react if bitten by an animal. The importance of taking pets to a clinic and having them vaccinated and sterilised was also stressed.

The children were given their booklets to take home which will help to spread the message of rabies awareness and prevention to their families and communities. 

This initiative was supported by the Grant or Cooperative Agreement Number, [5 NU2GGH001874-02-00 ], funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.