Being bitten on the first day of a Mission Rabies vaccination programme for the second year running hasn’t put vet Fiona Thomson off her desire to help stamp out the disease that kills an estimated 100 children a day across the world.
Miss Thomson (pictured right), who works for the Pets’n’Vets Family in and around Glasgow, has returned from a trip to Uganda as part of the Mission Rabies global outreach vaccination programme and community education scheme.
She said: “Last year, I travelled with Mission Rabies to Blantyre, Malawi and was bitten by a dog on my first day. This year in Uganda I was again bitten by a dog on my first day, which again required an additional vaccination.”
Apart from being bitten, Miss Thomson found the contrasts between Malawi and Uganda to be profound.
“In Malawi the people were very happy and joyful and wanted to speak to us, whereas in Uganda it was evident many of the people we met had been physically and mentally traumatised by war,” she said.
“In northern Uganda, Mission Rabies works with Big Fix Uganda, which has its own charity called The Comfort Dog Project, whereby people who have suffered physical and mental trauma are given dogs donated to the charity. It was incredible to see how these dogs can help change people’s lives.”
Miss Thomson joined vaccination teams journeying to remote villages in Nwoya district from Gulu, providing vital protection to dogs and their owners against rabies. She drew up vaccines, gave out vaccination certificates for owners as proof, marked dogs to show they have been vaccinated and distributed educational material.
She said: “I plan to travel with Mission Rabies every year of my life. I’m also considering going to India next year; the biggest area in the world affected by rabies.”
Mission Rabies is part of the Worldwide Veterinary Service, founded by vet Luke Gamble. Its aim is to abolish rabies worldwide by 2030.