Dr Imam Mzimbiri

Rabies Free Africa, Tanzania – Rabies Hero October 2021

Dr Imam Mzimbiri is a Tanzanian veterinarian who has been engaged in rabies control for over 12 years, leading the largest mass dog vaccination program in Tanzania, which is carried out around the Serengeti National Park. He received a Rabies Hero Award for making a real difference in protecting the Serengeti from rabies, vaccinating thousands of dogs every year, often living away from his home.  

Imam is a humble vet who has been working with Rabies Free Africa for many years and played a key part in protecting the people and wildlife from rabies. He leads a team of field officers, coordinating and delivering mass dog vaccination to remote villages. To do this, he spends 9 months of the year away from his family, working in the field under challenging conditions, utterly dedicated to eliminating this terrible disease. He has also contributed to peer-reviewed publications focused on rabies elimination. 

Receiving the award Imam told us: “Working against rabies to me means saving human lives from this deadly disease which causes deaths to thousands of people each year. It is important because it kills both humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. In our project, we conduct mass dog vaccinations in which we vaccinate approximately 40,000 dogs per year.” This has helped to reduce the disease in dogs and in wildlife, but most importantly it was proven to be the most effective way to protect people, as Imam said: “It is very expensive to treat a person bitten by a rabid dog, in terms of transport, accommodation, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Through our project, we managed to increase awareness of rabies in the community by educating people and it also improved the veterinary care.”

Click here to see photos of Imam’s work.