Monday 9 October 2017

Protecting Man's Best Friend

Inspired by World Rabies Day on September 28, 2017, Golden Star launched a campaign in early October 2017 with the primary aims of offering free vaccinations against rabies for local cats and dogs and educating local people about the risks presented by the disease.

Local people from the Bogoso/Prestea mine's host communities
attend a pet vaccination day

What is rabies?

Rabies is a rare but serious infection of the brain and nerves.  It is usually caught from a bite or scratch of an infected animal, most often a dog.  Rabies is found throughout the world and it is endemic in Ghana.  Pets are not routinely vaccinated in Ghana and stray animals also roam freely.

How serious is the risk in Ghana?

Studies by the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in central Ghana show that over a 10 year period over 18,000 people were exposed to rabies in Ghana.  Over the same period, over 1 million animals were examined and all but 14 were found to be rabid.  

Not everyone who is bitten by a rabid animal contracts rabies, however once rabies is contracted, survival rates are low unless the person receives timely treatment. The dry season is the time of the highest risk, coinciding with the breeding season of dogs, who are the primary carriers.

The plant site at Golden Star’s Bogoso/Prestea operations and the residential areas are all unfenced, meaning that the risk to Golden Star’s employees and their family members of being bitten by a freely roaming animal is high.

Working in partnership

One of the cornerstones of Golden Star’s approach to corporate responsibility is working in partnership with other organizations to achieve its goals.  This project was no different: Golden Star teamed up with the veterinary services of the Prestea Huni Valley District of Western Region of Ghana, community leaders and pet owners to offer vaccinations in the Brakwaline, Sekunde, Ebienne, Chujah, Kroboline, Prestea, Bondaye, and Himan communities, which form part of the Bogoso/Prestea mine’s catchment area.

The objectives of the project were to vaccinate all of the dogs and cats in the target catchment settlements, manage the dog and cat population through castration and increase public awareness of the requirements of socially responsible dog and cat ownership.

What was the result?

By the end of the project, 412 pets (comprising 320 dogs, 91 cats and 1 monkey!) were  vaccinated against rabies.  The clinics were held in three different locations over three days within the Bogoso/Prestea mine’s catchment area.  All of the pet owners said that they appreciated the initiative.  Some of the pet owners commented that their villages are remote and it was difficult to travel with the pets to the existing veterinary services office for vaccination. Therefore by offering vaccinations in community centres and parks, Golden Star and its partners had remedied that problem.  

Once a pet was vaccinated, their owner received a vaccination certificate and a pet collar with name tag as well as information about how to look after their pet in a responsible way. 

A vet gives a rabies vaccination to a pet dog

Golden Star and its partners will continue to offer yearly vaccinations against rabies to all dog and cat owners in its host communities to ensure a lower risk environment for all of its employees, their family and local communities.

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit