Makerere University Student One Health Innovation Club, Uganda

Rabies Vaccination and Awareness Outreach Held On 28th, 29th And 30th September 2017 in Kanyanya, Kabowa and Kawaala: A One Health Approach

Makerere University Student One Health Club members set out to fight rabies in a few communities that are known to have large numbers of dogs and cats. These communities included; Kanyanya , Kabowa and Kawaala suburbs.

Students carried out two activities during the outreaches, namely; Participation in vaccination of dogs and cats against Rabies disease. Community sensitization and awareness creation on Rabies and its impacts. The Student One Health club partnered with KCCA and worked closely with the Kampala DVO, Dr Emilian Ahimbisibwe and a KCCA VO, Dr Nabaasa Robinson to make the outreach a success. The activity extended a chance to many club members to participate and also get exposed to a One health challenge in their environment.

Multidisciplinary inclusiveness was put in high regard, as many disciplines were involved, for example:

  • Veterinary students
  • Environmental health students
  • Public health students
  • Civil engineering students
  • Social science students
  • Agriculture students
  • Political science students
  • Law students

With the diversity offered by the several disciplines the club was represented by a well-balanced, knowledgeable team.

About 120 students were taken on the rabies outreach, with a group of 40 students taken daily i.e. 28th, 29th, and 30th. In the field, the activities done by students were supervised by Dr. Gabriel Tumwiine (Lecturer at COVAB), Dr Paul Ssuna (Private VO ), and Dr Nabaasa Robinson (KCCA VO). While in the field, the students were divided into two groups each consisting of 20 students. One of the groups pitched camp at a common station where dog and cat owners brought their animals for vaccination against Rabies disease. The other group was rather mobile and moved door to door looking for domesticated dogs and cats to vaccinate. The veterinary medicine students in 4th year and 5th years did the vaccinations on the dogs and cats supervised by Dr Paul. Students offering Social Sciences, Public Health and Environmental health science created awareness about Rabies and its socio-economic and health impacts.

Over 100 animals were vaccinated in total, and the locals in the respective areas were grateful and credited the club. However, there were a couple of challenges; In Kabowa, Locals expressed dissatisfaction with KCCA as they alleged that KCCA kills their dogs and never participates in Rabies campaigns In Kanyanya, some local showed resistance to the rabies vaccinations citing Dog killings by KCCA disguised as vaccinations. They argued that the dogs offered protection in their area marred by petty crime. The One Health Club Executive recommended that there should be better mass sensitization about Rabies campaigns by the KCCA veterinary officers.

In a nutshell, all the student participants of the vaccination exercise were exposed to a real life One health challenge. The activity exposed the student participants to field work since students spend most of their time in classrooms. Students learnt from the qualified personnel how to vaccinate. Students learnt firsthand how to interview and probe locals for information The activity was a success. We would love to extend our thanks to our dear patrons and OHCEA.