HeroRATs Saving Lives
Players provide support to help train rats to sniff out landmines and detect tuberculosis
October 6th, 2017
People's Postcode Lottery was recently invited to visit some of our global charities to see first-hand the amazing work being done, thanks to our players. One good cause was APOPO, an international charity that focuses on training rats to smell and identify landmines and tuberculosis (TB).
African giant pouched rats have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and are trained to detect bacteria and the explosive TNT. The rats - affectionately called HeroRATs - can grow to 3ft long, nose to tail, but are still light enough not to trigger the landmines. Their noses are so sensitive they can identify up to 80% of TB positive patients.
The People's Postcode Lottery Operations Manager, Louise Donkin, was given the chance to travel to Tanzania and see the rats at work.
Although Louise isn't the biggest fan of rodents, she bravely faced her fears, and even gave one of the African giant pouched rats a cuddle!
Louise said, "I've been scared of rats for years, but seeing these amazing animals in action has killed any fear I had. The rats were so clever and timid; I even got to hold one called Lukaku.
"We then visited the Tuberculosis detection centre where they showed us that the rats can get through 100 samples in 20 minutes, as opposed to a lab technician, who can only get through 20 samples in a whole day! This means people are diagnosed and treated quicker.
"The trip really opened my eyes to how much work is done by these charities, and how they help so many people."
Players have awarded APOPO £1,450,000 to date. The funding directly helps people across the world who live in fear of landmines, or who are affected by tuberculosis.
APOPO is just one of over 60 fantastic charities players of People's Postcode Lottery support in Great Britain and across the globe.