A charitable organization working in the fight against rabies has commended Malawi’s integrated mobile and ICT services provider, TNM Plc, for taking a leading role in sensitizing Malawians of this year’s anti-rabies vaccination through SMS broadcasts.

According to Dr Dagmar Mayer, Mission Rabies Malawi Country Manager, the sensitization efforts are yielding great results, leading to an increase in number of dogs being vaccinated: “We started this year’s vaccination campaign on a good note and we are impressed with the progress. Two weekends into a ten weekend campaign period, we have vaccinated a total of 16,000 dogs against the campaign’s overall projection of 35,000 dogs.”

“Our goal is to get as many people as possible in Blantyre to come with their dogs to our vaccination clinics and get them vaccinated against rabies to protect communities from this deadly disease,” said Mayer.

Mayer said that TNM through its broadcast SMS has amplified the rabies campaign’s awareness efforts in reaching out to targeted communities.

The messages sent by TNM support all the other sensitization efforts being conducted by the Mission Rabies team. When dog owners at the various centres were asked on how they heard about the vaccination; a large number of people mentioned the mobile phone SMSs. It is highly likely that some people would have not known about this potential lifesaving campaign without the messages.

TNM remains committed to causes that improve the lives of Malawians and the environment. With the rabies virus being potentially transmitted through a dog bite from an infected canine. TNM is therefore committed to creating a safer Malawian society. We are sponsoring this campaign with SMS messages to overcome the information gap between the caregivers and the dog owners.

Rabies is endemic and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in Malawi, between 400 and 500 people die of rabies every year. Around 40% of the victims are children under the age of 16. Mission Rabies whose mission is to eliminate rabies by 2030 started working in Malawi in 2015.

The Mission has been working in three districts of the Southern Region; Blantyre, Chiradzulu and Zomba. For the last four years the organization has vaccinated 92,000 dogs against rabies in the three districts.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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