Rangoon Municipality to Designate Two More Townships Rabies-Free

By Zue Zue 28 October 2016

RANGOON — Rangoon municipality will launch an anti-rabies campaign in two more townships after its first ever campaign to vaccinate and sterilize stray dogs concluded this month.

Sanchaung and Mingalar Taungnyunt townships will next be designated as rabies-free townships after the first campaign in Lanmadaw Township completed in October, according to the veterinary care and butchery department of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

The decision was reached at a workshop between personnel of YCDC, the US-based Humane Society International, the Thai-based Soi Dog Foundation, FAO and World Organization for Animal Health on Oct. 26-27.

YCDC officials and Ms. Min Mitchell, the wife former US ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell, signed a MoU in March this year to designate Sanchaung and Mingalar Taungnyunt as rabies-free townships.

“According to the MoU, foreign experts shared their theories and techniques at the workshop and we also informed them of our actions,” assistant department head Dr. Hla May Oo of the Veterinary Care and Butchery Department.

In so doing, YCDC will apply CNVR, an international practice against rabies, which is the catching, neutering, vaccinating and returning of stray dogs. And foreign experts will also provide relevant training to YCDC officials on sterilizing stray dogs.

As of September 1, YCDC, under the MoU, stopped the feeding of poisoned food to stray dogs in Sanchaung and Mingala Taungnyunt townships—a method long used to lower their numbers in Rangoon.

Brighter Future Myanmar Foundation, the social wing of Kanbawza Bank, will also provide necessary assistance in the fight against rabies in Rangoon’s municipal areas, said U Nyo Myint, a senior managing director with Kanbawza Bank.

YCDC launched the anti-rabies campaign in Lanmadaw Township on August 4 and completed the CNVR process on October 19. Red-colored tags were used to identify dogs that had already been operated on.

The Veterinary Care and Butchery Department started rabies prevention and neutering of stray dogs in 2014, and due to budget restraints, it could only sterilize 200 dogs a year; according to YCDC statistics, there are over 100,000 stray dogs in Rangoon.

Dr. Nan Khin May Pu, a volunteer helping with YCDC’s sterilizing of dogs said: “We need to educate members of the public that killing dogs can’t eliminate rabies, but vaccinating can. And we also need to provide foreign training to vets. And we need big financial and technical assistance from the government as well as international NGOs.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko