Luke's May Update!

You are here

Luke's May Update!

Fri 1st Jun 2018

African proverb: “To get the honey, you must have courage to face the bees.”

I’m clearly buzzing from my (all-too-short) trip to Malawi this month. Please find May’s update of awesome below.

Parcels and Volunteer Teams

  • 68 parcels dispatched, valuing £29,600.59.
  • Teams have been in Malawi, Bostwana, Costa Rica, South Africa, Grenada, India and Thailand.
  • We have run three surgical training courses in Goa, four in Ooty (one IPAN, two Indian and one International), and one in Thailand. WVS Thailand has also conducted outreach programmes and additionally is running the 5,000 rabies vaccination campaign.


This year’s Blantyre City drive reached 129,942 children in 58 schools (out of 61 public primary schools in the city).

This achievement is notable as the team had to contend with national protest action during the second week of the campaign. Further community outreach programmes extended to a further 36,624 people and in addition to the TMN text messaging campaign, Mission Rabies song and newspaper/tv/radio adverts it enabled this year’s drive to vaccinate over 70% of dogs in the city, in fewer days and for less money. It has been fantastic to see how our education programme is now influencing the economics of the rabies campaign and the strategy we have adopted for the urban areas in Malawi. Sincere thanks to the education team and please have a read of Gareth’s report below.


Over 1,000 dogs vaccinated this month and two rabid dogs picked up by the rabies response team in Ranchi which is good but sad. The teams have been working incredibly hard but without the Government taking up the mantle, it looks likely that human rabies deaths will once again shortly feature at the hospitals. We are feeding this back to the Government and petitioning hard for them to start funding widespread mass vaccination again, build up the surveillance and drive the project. The education work is going very well.



An amazing month – 1159 surgeries (exceeding targets!), 27 adoptions through the centre and three training courses!!! Some great feedback featured in Karlette’s excellent report below and some fantastic case stories.

Mission Rabies Goa:

5,177 dogs vaccinated and two rabid dogs picked up. 35,799 dogs vaccinated so far this year by the teams. Amazing work! 


Ilona’s report is below. 97 vets trained through the Ooty ITC in the first five months of this year, a cat outreach project to Bangalore and a superb summary of an ITC course with a focus on good antibiotic protocols!


Thanks to MSD Animal Health and the CDC we have been able to support the Thai Government with donated vaccines for the National campaign and been invited to run a 5,000 dog vaccination programme, demonstrating a proof of concept approach utilising the WVS app from the Thai ITC. This campaign is currently ongoing and aside from the veterinary training courses and outreach work, the WVS Thailand team have been doing phenomenal work over the last few weeks. An update on this work will be released when the project is completed.


This year’s city campaign was our most successful ever. We delivered vaccines to over 34,000 dogs in almost half the number of days with a static and roaming static point model that has improved economic efficiency no end. I would like to thank Dagmar, Jo, Stella, Fred, Gareth, Paul, Debs, Amy, Clara, Andy, Rich and all the amazing Malawian team who have driven it forward. The stakeholder meeting in Blantyre this year has been uplifting in every respect.

I am writing this report on the plane now and I am sure, like the rest of the MR team, I feel so inspired, fired up and motivated to look at how far we have come in four years and recognise the possibilities of what could be achieved in the next few years ahead. Thanks to the direction, guidance and support of DHALD and all the Malawian stakeholders, we are now engaged in building a scalable model that could be rolled out nationally. It is incredibly exciting to be a part of this with the Government and an honour to be working with them on such a valuable and beneficial project. Zomba starts next week!!!!! A huge thanks as ever to Dogs Trust and to MSD Animal Health who have enabled the Malawi project to really take off and make such an impact.

Other news

I’d like to thank Professor Neil Sargison and Nick Blayney for their phenomenal support and endeavours with the One Mission programme this month. Parasitism causes huge suffering and welfare implications amongst both the animals and people in rural Malawi and the livestock programme, incorporating focused AVO training workshops as well as the commitment from all involved to make a sustainable impact, marks this project out as incredibly worthwhile. We plan to launch ‘Mission Worm’ (!) as a WVS project in the near future, an integrated part of the One Mission strategy and as we continue to build the baseline data, we’ll be able to objectively assess the impact of this initiative in assisting both the people and livestock in some of the poorest communities in the world.

I would also like to sincerely thank Dr Moses Barima, a Director of Health in Ghana who visited the Blantyre project this year to assess the potential for a Mission Rabies Ghana project under his banner. We have had some fantastic discussions and momentum is building. Watch this space!!!!!

June is upon us. Close to halfway in the year. Stats are strong so far – let’s keep it up and push as hard as we can.

ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!