Featured Article - 13 June 2018
Suvis fights rabies in São Paolo, Brazil
Suvis São Miguel Paulista (Suvis) was the awardee in the Organisation category for the Americas in the 2017 World Rabies Day Awards.
The rabies virus can kill anyone - be they young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick. Similarly, anyone can contribute significantly to the fight against rabies. In Sao Paulo, Suvis employs this approach and recruits people from all walks of life, from public health experts to village schoolchildren.
Suvis conducts epidemiological surveillance on rabies cases. Employees monitor incidences of bites and scratches by stray and wild animals. The organisation then follows up on these cases and ensures that post-exposure treatments are administered.
Suvis also focusses on free mass vaccinations and population control of stray animals. In 2017, they vaccinated 39,659 cats and dogs, which was a 14% increase over the 2016 campaign. Suvis also sterilised over 1000 animals in 2016. They provide guidance to schools, veterinary clinics, health professionals and the general public and carry out educational activities based around animal welfare and rabies prevention.
They plan to use the award to further local public education in public schools. They believe that by empowering children to be public-health advocates, the general community will be empowered in turn, and a well-informed grassroots movement will help greatly in the fight against rabies.
Suvis illustrates how a multi-pronged approach, with multiple stakeholders working together, can bring about great progress in rabies prevention. With the award, they will empower locals to fight actively against rabies, instead of simply accepting its presence as a part of life.
Edimar Alves from Suvis said '"This is more than a prize for us, it is the recognition of the hard work of this team, which has the ideal of a better world, a world where animals and humans live without fear of diseases, a world where animals and humans are left side by side without a virus that disturbs, a world where animals are not sacrificed for fear of transmitting the fatal disease. We will use our award for vaccinations for dogs and cats and donating to a country that suffers from this disease".
You can find out more about Suvis São Miguel Paulista here.
This article was written by Jnanee Krishnasamy, a GARC volunteer and veterinarian in Singapore
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.