By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, October 6: A Tibetan NGO based here, Tibet Charity, has championed a battle to eradicate the rabies through the vaccination of the canine and feline population in and around Dharamshala.
The organization marked their 9th year of operation celebrating the World Rabies day last week and kicking off their ‘vaccination campaign’ against rabies that will conclude by October 8.
The rabies, although a very less understood viral disease in the community, is associated with paranoia in the Tibetan community labeling it Khe-Nyonpae-natsa (meaning mad dog’s disease) and has claimed a few lives in the region including Tibetans.
The year 2007 did not register single case of rabies infection, says the President of Tibet Charity Tsering Thundup, adding that the year was when his organization began the vaccination drive. “We cannot fully say that our initiatives have solely been responsible for zero cases yet I believe our work since 2007 has contributed to it hugely,” Tsering Thundup said.
The viral disease if not treated within 10 days of infection is most likely to kill the patient by directly attacking the brain causing an infected subject to agitating behavior and episodes of delirium and confusion. Even if treated in the early stages, the treatment is a series of expensive injections that may financially strain any patient, says Thundup.
The team of six people from the Animal Care Section and the Health Section of Tibet Charity’s vaccination drive has completed their Dharamshala leg, and have travelled to nearby areas like Chauntra, Gopalpur and Trilokpur among others.
On an average the campaign has vaccinated 900 canine and feline benefactors since 2007.
The cost of such a drive does not come cheap especially when it has been operational without any help from the CTA (exile government) or the local municipal commission. “Our entire operation stands on the generous donations and help from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation France”.
The motto of the campaign is “let’s make rabies a history.” A staff Nurse from the Delek Hospital told Phayul, “We did not have any cases of rabies infected patients for many years.”
Tibet Charity is also engaged in other activities such as birth control of strays as well as rehabilitating sick dogs through their Animal Care Section.