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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International




Zebilla is the District Capital of the Bawku West District in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The

2010 population census of Ghana estimates Bawku West to have 94,034 people.

It is predominantly inhabited by the Kusal speaking people. The town is rural-the lifestyle of the people is cultural and focuses on traditional leadership; peasant farming is the mainstay of the people and they are communal in nature. The place lacks essential amenities like potable water flowing into homes and toilets. Housing is mostly mud housing, spatial planning is not up to modern standard, many of the access roads are untarred.

Zebilla is bordered by Binduri district to the north and to the south is Nabdan District. Zebilla is about 12 kilometers to Bingo, a Burkina Faso village that shares kinship ties with Zebilla. A large percent of the population engages in subsistence farming. Another common practice is livestock rearing. Bride wealth attracts cows, sheep, and guinea fowls.

Donkey traction is also common among the people. Donkeys play a significant role in Zebilla and the Upper East Region as a whole. Donkeys are used for transport, agriculture, and trade. They cart produce from farms to homes, to the market, and on long distance journeys. In some instances they serve as an ambulance.

Lately donkey meat has become a delicacy and the skin a valued commodity. Hence donkey rustling is a menace as they are stolen, culled, and fraudulently labelled as game meat.

Dogs are also part of the lives of the people of Zebilla. They are kept for several reasons- pets, hunting, security and food etc. In view of this, there is a special market for dogs where the sale

of dogs is a booming trade on every market day. Market days fall on every three days.

Kukuruzua is a suburb of Zebilla and within a distance of about 3 kilometers southwest of

Zebilla. It shares similar characteristics with Zebilla. The Junior High School has been host to the GSPCA Humane Education lesson since January 2015. Seventy-seven pupils made the HE class.

“Almost every house has donkey and a dog," said Mr. Alhassan Iddi, the District Veterinary Officer for Bawku West District. He noted that the people love their animals but “ability to

provide the needed health care is not there” and with “poverty the animals are left to fend for


Mr Alhassan, who has being working here for the past 20 years, noted that from observation, no

one has reported a rabid dog, but he is aware of instances when a dog is killed. He said, “I am aware that sometimes they kill the dog for dog bite reasons and other times the dog is accused and killed because the people just want to eat meat." In all instances of killings, Mr Alhassan noted that “you only hear of it but no official report” is made to the veterinary. He

added, “nobody has ever officially reported a dog bite.

With this in mind Mr. Alhassan was motivated to support the Ghana SPCA to hold the much anticipated rural open animal clinic, which he believes will encourage

community members of Kukuruzua to treat their animals well at home and bring them to the vet office for professional handling.

Vaccination and Treatment Day February 20, 2016

Mr Alhassan and his four support staff who were National Service personnel, were at Kukuruzua Junior High School before the 7:00 AM official start time. Thirty people with 35

dogs and 20 donkeys were waiting for vaccination and treatment.

The exercise commenced with a brief introduction and explanation of do’s and don’ts. After the first 20 received treatment and went home, other community members who doubted the vaccination and treatment were free-of-charge were inspired to come. Many of them came with their dogs on bicycles, motorbikes, tricycles (popularly called motor king) and donkey carts.

Within a short time, 75 dogs were vaccinated and before the official closing time of 12:00 noon, 85 dogs received their jabs, while 97 donkeys were dewormed and some had their wounds treated. Some arrived after closing time and went to the vet office. At the end, 112 donkeys were treated and 100 dogs vaccinated against rabies.

The target for vaccination was 50 dogs and 100 donkeys treated. However the vets were able to purchase more rabies vaccines to make up for the shortage. Actually, very few donkeys came with wounds. About 17 donkeys and six dogs were sprayed with the antibiotic spray. Owners of dogs that received anti-rabies vaccination were provided with receipt card to keep as proof.


A debriefing session was held with the vets to find out the way forward and what went wrong

and right.


Because the vets were able to purchase more rabies vaccines on clinic day, there were enough vaccines and dewormers for the exercise. Other medical equipment, syringes and needles, cool box and ice cubes to keep vaccines under the right temperature were available.

The people were enthusiastic and were able to control their dogs. Hence no dog bite on

vets occurred.

The start time was appropriate. It was a market day and keeping the people waiting for too long would have been bad.

Also vaccines according to the vets should not be kept out for long in the scorching sun.

The medium of reaching the people was right. Two announcements were made on DASTEC FM

radio station. There was also an announcement to pupils during the opening and closing of the Friday school day preceding the Saturday’s event.

According to vets they were “surprised the donkeys came in their numbers.”

They describe this as success since most “people will not care to feed nor to think of taking donkeys out for treatment.”


The vets who were happy for the event noted, “if vaccines are available they will not have

problem to undertake vaccination and treatment, however we shall be happy in the next exercise if fuel is provided for our motorbikes and lunch is provided."

There are more dogs in Bawku West District and there will be more puppies and adult ones in

the following year that will require vaccination. And since anti-rabies is not a one-stop event,

it will be appropriate to sustain the exercise.

It has helped the vets to have data and the district is proud in the eyes of all the other districts in the region. Even the Veterinary regional head headquarters is proud of Bawku West district.


Other communities within the district capital are asking when you (GSPCA) will visit our

community. In view of this, the district veterinary officer recommended that Tanga be the next community. His reasons, there are more dogs identified and Tanga has many nearby

adjoining communities.

This project was funded by a grant from Bosack Kruger. We thank them for their generous support.

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