Alternative Winter Break – Nicaragua, Day 5

Cierra and Christine (from left to right) preparing rabies vaccinations to administer to the dogs in the community.

By Sonia Ros

Day 5: Poner vacuna a los perros

My blogger counterpart, Madysen, is out sick for the day. Sick like a dog, you could say. Speaking of dogs, today we helped two nurses in the communities of Gigante, Tola, and Rivas vaccinate dogs against rabies. You may be thinking, “Why on Earth are these nurses vaccinating dogs?” The two MINSA nurses first provided us with information and instruction about MINSA’s rabies vaccination project. The nurses are responsible for vaccinating 1,000 dogs. This project takes primary prevention to a whole other level. They are vaccinating the dogs to protect the people in the community from contracting rabies.

Dan, Anna, and Sonia (from left to right) preparing rabies vaccinations to administer to the dogs in the community.

We were divided into two groups: one that would stay close to the hotel and cover the coastal population while the other would go up in the mountains. We went house by house, introducing ourselves and letting the community members know that we were there to vaccinate their dogs for rabies. The community members welcomed us, as they understood we were assisting MINSA. They seemed to be grateful for what we were doing and found it important. Some even advocated for their neighbors saying, “I know my neighbor is not here, but he has two dogs. Can I have vaccines to give his dogs?”

Christine, Cathy, and Grace (from left to right) preparing rabies vaccinations to administer to the dogs in the community.

Some owners felt comfortable giving their dogs the IM injection, and others preferred the nursing students to give the vaccine. After vaccinating the dogs, proper documentation must be done. This is important for government validation. The nurses must take down the name of the owner as well as the name, age, and sex of the dog. To signify to the public and community that the dog has been vaccinated, we provided a green tag to put on the dog’s neck.

After working diligently for five hours in the radiating heat, both groups had successfully vaccinated 120 dogs. Although we were done for the day, the two nurses we worked with continued. We were happy to help and glad we could expedite the process for the nurses.

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