Its objectives are the following: to help the stray dogs and cats that, especially in poor neighbourhoods, often live in tragic conditions; to offer shelter to those dogs and cats in need of intensive care – victims of road accidents or serious parasites and other systemic illnesses; and to reduce the number of stray dogs and cats through campaigns involving anti-parasitic preventative medication, adoption and sterilisation, which can substitute efforts to reduce the number of stray animals through use of strychnine spread throughout the area.
All of these activities substantially influence the conditions of life in the local population because they reduce the transmission of the most common parasites which can cause serious illnesses, especially in the children who spend much of their time on the streets. Furthermore, they have the aim of educating the population with regards to animal rights, the protection and conservation of endangered species facing extinction, involving the local population in their activities, with informative meetings in schools and workplaces, through cultural and scientific events and information programmes on local media (radio and television).
The importance of the service that the association provides to the population of Sao Vicente has also been recognised by the Ambassador for Cape Verde in Rome, who has granted free visas for volunteers who participate in the project. In the association’s headquarters a permanent veterinary ambulance has been set up, with an attached canine refuge, regularly visited by dozens of locals who want to take care of their animals but cannot afford to take them to the a fee-charging vet, and who is furthermore only available for one hour a day and not at all on holidays.
Si ma bô carries out free sterilisation programmes to reduce the proliferation of stray dogs and cats and drives talks with institutions to interrupt current attempts to reduce the number of animals through use of strychnine-laced food, involving serious dangers for the population.
Si ma bô has been accredited among the projects where those graduating in veterinary medicine from the University of Turin can gain their 100 hours of practical experience. Furthermore, it has been integrated into a project by the Institute of Parasitology in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Toronto, which investigates the transmissibility of scabies in humans, and in a project by the University of Camerino for the development of a protocol for the treatment of leishmaniasis, a serious systemic illness that can be transmitted to humans, and which is very common in Cape Verde and in other counties in the southern hemisphere. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Turin has also already prepared a protocol for a census of the canine population and resulting institution of a registry.
The association is always looking for veterinary volunteers prepared to visit the location to take part in sterilisation campaigns and offer medical care to the animals who are victims of accidents and infestations. Expert surgeons are offered board, accommodation and return air fee. New graduates are offered accommodation (excluding board) and a free internship of at least 15 months with the Veterinary Centre of Monviso di Pinerolo (www.centroveterinariomonviso.com), led by the director of health of Si ma bô, Dr Rossana Ranieri.