Vaccination benefits spreading to Africa

Perception of pharmaceutical companies is sometimes not that positive and reports in the media often emphasise extortionate amounts charged to the NHS for medicines, or reluctance to release cheaper life-saving vaccines for use in Third World countries.

We are involved with the pharmaceutical industry on an almost daily basis and have been exposed to some decidedly benevolent acts.

We are involved with the pharmaceutical industry on an almost daily basis and have been exposed to some decidedly benevolent acts.

A manufacturer of well-known dog wormers has heavily funded field conservation for the Ploughshare tortoise in Madagasca.

There is no direct correlation between its products and the tortoise, nor does it promote its good work. When we had a fundraising campaign for tiger conservation, the manufacturer of our cat vaccines matched the money we spent on cat vaccines over three months in donations to Twentieth Century Tiger.

A cause close to my heart is the ‘Afya Serengeti’ project, run by Dr Sarah Cleveland, who has been at the forefront of recognising dangers that diseases carried by domestic dogs pose to the endangered wildlife of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

Rabies is prevalent in the domestic dogs of the Maasai tribesmen. It poses an enormous threat to the dogs, tribesmen and their families, and endangered wild animals — lion, cheetah, and most vulnerable, the African painted dog.

Vaccination provides effective control and what the Afya Serengeti (Swahili for health of Serengeti) project aspires to do is create a buffer zone of vaccinated animals around the park.

I have spent holidays in African national parks and of all the animals I saw the painted dogs created the most lasting impression. Also referred to as hunting or wild dogs, they are intelligent, living and hunting together in groups of up to 30, with social interactions.

It is wonderfully rewarding to make a contribution to the survival of painted dogs. At Robson and Prescott we have an arrangement with MSD, the provider of our dog vaccines, that for every dog we vaccinate it will provide the Afya Serengeti project with a free dose of rabies’ vaccine.

Courtesy of a pharmaceutical company, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that in protecting your dog against potentially fatal diseases you are also protecting tribesmen, dogs and wildlife in Africa.

By Sam Prescott,

Director and Vet