On this World Rabies Day, we featured the Dr. Shampur Madhusudana Trust, which is working for the eradication of Rabies. In this episode, RJ Beula Anthony is in conversation with Girija Madhusudana, Dr. Rita S Mani and Prakash about the journey of the trust and the man behind it.
Girija talks about her husband, Dr. Shampur Madhusudana, the inspiration behind the trust. Dr. Shampur N. Madhusudana served in the field of Rabies prevention for more than three decades. One of his major contributions to the field during his service at NIMHANS was establishing a state-of-the-art Rabies diagnostic laboratory, which is one of its kind in the whole of India, and under his able stewardship, the department became the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Rabies. His dream was to make India free from Rabies. When he passed away, Girija took up the responsibility of working for the cause and that’s how the Dr. Shampur Madhusudana Trust was established in March 2017. Dr. Shampur N. Madhusudana also served in the Department of Neurovirology at NIMHANS, Bangalore, and was an accomplished international expert in Rabies. He also served as Assistant Director (Rabies Division) at the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, India.
It was Professor Madhusudana’s initiative to develop the intradermal vaccination, an economical approach to effectively prevent Rabies, which is currently practised in several anti-Rabies clinics across the country. He also pioneered conducting clinical trials for new Rabies vaccines and in providing valuable insights into the pathogenesis of Rabies through his research. In addition, Dr. Madhusudana conducted noteworthy research on the development of novel vaccines.
The vision of the trust is to create a society free of Rabies and the mission is to raise awareness about Rabies prevention and elimination; also, to organise camps for underprivileged communities.
As children are more prone to Rabies, awareness camps are organised by the trust at schools. Presentations, movie screenings, film shows, videos and photographs are used in this effort. Once Rabies is diagnosed in anyone, there is no cure, however, if proper first-aid and vaccination is followed, then Rabies can be effectively prevented.
Prakash mentions that children are the ambassadors in spreading the message of Rabies prevention. They help implement programs in schools and make sure that the word spreads farther by taking a pledge. Recently, a quiz program on Rabies, featuring children, was organised on Doordarshan.
The trust reaches out to people in as many ways as possible. They have reached out to all age groups in many districts like Bidai, Ramnagara, Chikabbalapura and Dodaballapura. Usually, they engage with children between the 6th and 10th standards. Chikballapura Deputy Commissioner has also supported them very well by granting permission to conduct awareness campaigns in all 20 Government Schools in the district. So, soon they will be addressing close to 2,500 students.
Few of the partners the trust mentions are End Rabies Now campaign by Global Alliance for Rabies Control, Rabies in Asia Foundation, and Association of Prevention and Control of Rabies in India. Karnataka, in fact, is the first state in India to be completely Rabies free.