Maurice ‘inspires’ fight against rabies

A University of Liverpool PhD student has become the latest recipient of the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award, as part of the 2023 International Canine Health Awards.

Dr Maurice Karani, who is currently studying for his PhD in Veterinary Epidemiology and One Health, is being recognised for his dedication to changing how remote communities tackle the threat of rabies.

Dr Karani, from Nairobi, Kenya, battled with cerebral malaria in his youth and is acutely aware of the devastating impact that disease can have on communities living in poverty. He has dedicated his recent studies to tackling one preventable disease in particular – rabies – a virus that affects both humans and canines. His work aims to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of investing in rabies controls for those at the greatest risk of dying from the virus.

Dr Karani is planning to use the prize money from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust to work on a project alongside health workers in remote communities to raise awareness of rabies and implement preventative strategies to control this deadly disease through educational campaigns. The project will create and share videos, guidelines and training on responsible dog ownership to help manage the spread of rabies. The project will also improve surveillance of rabies through encouraging reporting of cases (in dogs and humans) and developing existing systems to better track the incidence and spread in study areas.

Reaction to award win

Dr Maurice Karani said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been selected as the recipient of this prestigious award! It is a true testament to my life’s passion to improve canine health while embracing the transformative One Health approach.

“Winning this award further motivates me to continue my efforts and make a meaningful difference in the field. I am so grateful for the recognition and the opportunities it will bring.”

Dr Andrew Higgins, Chairman of the International Canine Health Awards panel and trustee of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust which organises the awards, said: “Dr Maurice Karani’s personal story and passion for tackling rabies in remote communities is incredibly inspiring and his commitment and dedication really stood out to the panel which felt his work was truly One Health in action. Rabies is a dreadful disease that impacts both humans and dogs so work like Maurice’s is invaluable in developing better means of prevention and control.”

Vernon Hill, founder of Metro Bank, and whose major gift from the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation underwrites the awards, said: “Many congratulations to Dr Karani on being chosen for this prestigious award. The motivation he shows to dedicating his time and research to helping struggling communities is extremely admirable. I look forward to hearing the results of the project in the ongoing global battle against rabies.” 

More about Maurice

Dr Karani completed his undergraduate veterinary degree at the University of Nairobi before, taking a Masters degree in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of London. He has nine years of experience working on infections zoonotic diseases in Kenya, collaborating with government institutions and communities to collect data and share study results.

This story was originally reported by Vetpol, an online community for veterinary professionals. You can read their full article online.