Featured Article - 2 October 2018
One more family, one more village - no more rabies.
Mawethu Kunyu was the awardee in the Individual category for PARACON (Sub-Saharan Africa) in the 2017 World Rabies Day Awards.
Mawethu Kunyu has been working with the Transkei Animal Welfare Initiative (TAWI) as an Animal Welfare Assistant in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, since 2009.
Mawethu has completed the GARC Animal Handling and Vaccination Certificate as well as the Rabies Educator Certificate and has put his knowledge to good use. His main work is to reach the most remote areas to ensure that all dogs are vaccinated against rabies and that everyone in the local communities is educated about rabies prevention.
Since 2009 he has vaccinated more than 10,000 animals against rabies, reaching more than 75% of the dog populations in 13 of the 19 communities where he works. In addition, his assistance has meant that more than 50 dogs per month are sterilised and this population management also supports rabies prevention work.
Due to the topography of the region and the distances involved, people can’t often get to the government-sponsored vaccination drives, and without Mawethu and the work of TAWI these dogs would not be vaccinated. He tries to make sure that all puppies are vaccinated at 3 months old, no matter how remote the communities are.
Through raising public awareness and actively helping communities over the years, Mawethu has become an integral part of TAWI’s vet team and the go-to person whenever a dog is suspected of having rabies. This has also led to an increase in the cases reported, which is vital in illustrating the true picture of rabies in the area.
Mawethu believes that receiving a World Rabies Day Award will help to increase government support, and he will be continuing his work in rabies prevention with added courage and conviction, knowing that his commitment is being recognised. “Properly educating one family at a time, one village at a time, one day there will be no more rabies,” he confidently says.
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. Find out more about the Awards and view this year’s shortlist.