An impactful two-week rabies vaccination campaign has culminated in Phnom Penh, with almost 75,000 dogs immunised. The extensive health initiative was led by Mission Rabies, in partnership with the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP) and Animal Rescue Cambodia.

The initiative, launched on May 20 and ended on June 2, offered free rabies vaccinations for dogs across Phnom Penh and select areas of Kandal province. Mission Rabies celebrated the successful completion of the campaign on June 4, expressing exhilaration over the impactful outcome.

During the brief 10-day span of the campaign, 74,872 dogs were vaccinated in the targeted regions. The organisation acknowledged the crucial role played by its partners and volunteers.

“This monumental achievement would not have been possible without the unwavering support and cooperation from all our partners and volunteers from overseas and universities in Cambodia,” it said.

Mission Rabies intends to take the lessons and experiences gained from this campaign to enhance its future strategies. The organisation’s dedication to the health and wellbeing of humans and animals remains unwavering. They reiterated their work in monitoring rabies continues, and called upon public vigilance in reporting any dogs exhibiting signs of the disease.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Mission Rabies revealed Cambodia has one of the highest global rates of rabies mortality, with dog bites causing nearly 99 per cent of all rabies fatalities. It said 600,000 people in Cambodia are bitten by dogs annually, with most forgo medical treatment.

Nuth Sambath, president of the Institute of Medicine, Biology and Agriculture at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, explained the critical nature of the disease, urging bite victims to seek immediate vaccination against rabies.

Emphasising the importance of dog vaccinations, he stated: “Vaccinating all dogs in Phnom Penh is the best way of protecting humans against rabies.”

Mission Rabies stressed dog vaccination is the most cost-effective method of preventing rabies transmission. With 85 per cent of all dogs in Cambodia being owned, the UK-based organisation underscores the necessity of education in ensuring successful rabies prevention.

The NGO plans to continue its efforts in collaborating with local stakeholders to vaccinate over 70 per cent of all dogs in Phnom Penh.