Kerala Government Orders Counselling Centres for Dog-Bite Victims

Trivandrum, 7th August, 2017: Setting out to make Trivandrum a model district for dog bite counselling and education, the State government is all set to launch dog bite counseling centres in government hospitals across Kerala. This initiative is the first of its kind Kerala with counseling services already being offered across Trivandrum in General Hospital Neyyattinkara, Government Hospital Trivandrum, and Taluq Headquarters Hospital Varkala. The centres came into effect with an order dated 7 August 2017 from the State Government’s Health Department which mandated dog bite counseling centres.

Such centres have so far only existed for issues such as family planning and mental health. The session will counsel the victim on basic dog behavior, do’s and don’ts, treatment, mental help and will also ensure follow-up with the patients to check their progress.

Leading the way not only in post bite counselling  but also in minimizing dog bites to begin with, the state education department recently ordered mandatory education on dog-bite prevention in government schools in Trivandrum. These will be supportedby the Animal Husbandry department which will provide resource persons to execute the orders. The programme is undergoing expansion to other districtsacross the state as well.

Acting on a proposal from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), the department has instructed superintendents of the above hospitals to make necessary arrangements and dedicate one staff person to be trained as a counselor. FIAPO’s proposal is part of its statewide Rabies Free Kerala (RFK) movement, to find immediate and long term solutions to human-dog conflict.

The latest order is significant to scientifically and humanely reducing human-animal conflict in the state as it marks the involvement of four government departments – local self government, animal husbandry, education and health. Scientific modes of conflict management are most pertinent and it is to be noted that the Supreme court, in July, strongly reprimanded individuals killing street dogs in the state.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO said “It is necessary to tackle human-dog conflict holistically- by providing assistance and support to those who have been bitten by dogs. We believe that offering victims empathy and information can go a long way in peaceful coexistence of humans and dogs.This initiative by the government is a giant step in the right direction for legal, sustainable and humane solutions to the issue. FIAPO congratulates the Kerala government on this progressive move!”

 Date : 24 August 2017