Featured Article - 15 December 2017
KOARP’s Second Award for Community Rabies Prevention
For the second year running, the Kurdistan Organization for Animal Rights Protection (KOARP) has received a World Rabies Day Award, in the Organisation – MEEREB category.
Dr Sulaiman Tamer Saed, KOARP: “This award gives me the strength, stability, insistence and determination to progress towards working day and night to educate the common people of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Regional Government, especially the relevant authorities such as health, veterinary, environment, municipalities, tourism, media and education of the seriousness of zoonotic diseases, especially rabies.”
Since their first award last year, KOARP has continued to prove its commitment to ending rabies in the region.
On the community education front, KOARP has been organizing seminars, slide shows, fun quizzes and interactive games in kindergartens, schools and children’s centers. A KOARP article on rabies education in a children’s magazine called Sivora was distributed to over 2,000 households.
It is also working to get the government involved in introducing rabies prevention programmes for teachers and students because it believes that by educating children it is protecting the most at-risk population from dog bites and rabies. KOARP also educates slaughterhouse workers and farmers about zoonotic diseases, working with the government Health Directorate and reporting conditions in slaughterhouses, pet shops, zoos and markets.
As part of its work to improve conditions over the long term for animals in Kurdistan, KOARP has been working to change government policy, with a draft law sent to the Iraqi parliament in 2016. This law covers the roles and duties of pet owners, including rules on vaccination and animal welfare.
KOARP also works on dog population management, rescuing abandoned animals and encouraging adoption and sterilisation. It continues to try and change the law that allows the killing of stray dogs, and encourages the government to instead implement scientific and humane ways to manage the growing stray population.
Besides its work on rabies, KOARP is active in protecting wildlife throughout the region as well as working animals, farmed animals and animals in zoos.
Going forward KOARP has planned an informative workshop in the summer for all the veterinarians in the directorate from vet clinics that deal with cats and dogs, and rabies will form a part of this workshop. It is currently looking for international partners to work together on a long term comprehensive rabies education package for school children.
The World Rabies Day Awards are brought to you by MSD Animal Health and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. The Awards recognise community rabies champions from across the world and this year there are even more opportunities to share the stories of people and organisations who are preventing rabies in their communities. Find out more about the Awards, how to nominate and the conditions of entry here.