AsianScientist (Oct. 4, 2013) – The United Nations is partnering with the University of Sydney to manufacture a board game that educates children in Asia about the risk of rabies, a disease that kills over 30,000 people each year in Asia.
The game was created by a group of postgraduate students from the University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.
“The best teaching tools have to be fun and we have delivered the goods with Dogsville, a board game where players have to overcome challenges in order to win the honor of raising the best dog in the village,” said Dr Navneet Dhand, a senior lecturer in Veterinary Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University, speaking before World Rabies Day on 28 September.
“We are delighted that, after testing in rural schools in the Philippines, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has decided to partner with the University to produce versions of the game.”
The other partners are the World Organization for Animal Health, the European Union and the Australian government’s overseas aid program, AusAid.
Set in an imaginary village, the game educates users about preventive measures against rabies, including responsible pet ownership. It is targeted at the most vulnerable age group, children younger than 15 years. The World Health Organization reports that 40 percent of people bitten by suspected rabid animals belong to this age group because of their close relationships with dogs.
“The game will be distributed to hundreds of Southeast Asian schools, in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, with plans for versions for Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar,” said Dr Dhand, who is academic supervisor of the Veterinary Public Health Management program.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, where the game was first trialed, copies continue to be distributed, including to the Department of Agriculture in ten provinces with the highest incidence of rabies and to schools, NGOs and veterinary associations in Manila.
“We are encouraging these regions to pre-test the game and if they are interested, they can localize the board game in their own dialect,” Dr Dhand said.
Source: University of Sydney.
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