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PIA Press Release

Rabies prevention and control program launched in Boracay

Banga, Aklan (20 September) -- The "Rabies Prevention and Control Program for the Municipality of Malay and Boracay Island Resort" was launched during the celebration of the "World Rabies Day" on September 8 at Malay, Aklan.

The project is a partnership among the Municipality of Malay, Aklan State University–School of Veterinary Medicine and Extension and Community Services, Aklan Provincial Government–Office of the Provincial Veterinarian and Provincial Health Office, Department of Education-District of Malay, Department of Agriculture–Regional Field Unit 6 and the Department of Health–Center for Health Development-Western Visayas.

The different activities lined up during the launching program were the following: massive anti-rabies vaccination, castration of dogs and film showing. It was highlighted with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement among partner agencies.

According to Dr. Anna Mae C. Relingo, Director of ASU-ECS, the Memorandum of Agreement has came out after series of consultations with the local government unit and partner-agencies.

Hon. Ceciron S. Cawaling expressed in his message the support of the Municipal Government of Malay to the program extended by the partner-agencies. He stressed on its importance in making Malay not only a tourist-friendly destination but also a rabies-free municipality.

Director Larry P. Nacionales, Regional Executive Director of DA-RFU 6 was represented by Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter, OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations. Engr. Recoter said, that the DA-RFU 6 is committed to its responsibilities as stipulated in the agreement

Director Lydia S. Depra-Ramos, Regional Director of DOH-CHD Western Visayas was represented by Mrs. Zuela A. Calizo of DOH-CHDWV Aklan. She said that DOH is highly committed through the MOA in order to attain a rabies-free Malay and Boracay. She added that Dir. Ramos has allocated 400 vials Rabisins exclusive for Malay, which can cover 4,000 dogs.

Mr. Democrito Barrientos, Principal In-charge of the District of Malay, pledged to integrate the program in its curriculum, so that it could be internalized by the pupils.

Governor Carlito S. Marquez was represented by Dr. Maria J. Magpusao, Chief Technical Services Division, Provincial Health Office. Dr. Magpusao said that the Provincial Government is very much supportive to the rabies control program. She emphasized that the program is very timely because rabies death rate in Aklan in 2006 is 1.8% which is.8 higher than the standard death rate which is only less than 1%.

Dr. Benny A. Palma, President of ASU, informed the public that the University is waiting for the accreditation of its Rabies Diagnostic Laboratory. He said that the University will continue to improve its services for anti-rabies. Likewise, he expressed the commitment of the University to the program.

According to Dr. Molly L. Naigan, faculty member of ASU-SVM and Project Leader, the program was conceptualized for several reasons. First, rabies is a fatal viral disease affecting the nervous system of all warm-blooded animals primarily of dogs and is transmitted to human beings through a bite of an affected animal. Second is, records of DOH's National Rabies Prevention and Control Program showed that most of the 113,379 animal bites in 2005 came from Western Visayas (Region 6) where Boracay Island is located. In the Province of Aklan, the Provincial Health Office reported three human death cases in 2006 and for the current year, three cases of human deaths were attributed to rabies as of May 2007.

Dr. Naigan said that the project aims primarily or ultimately to prevent the incidence of rabies in the area and if ever any rabies case is recorded, they would be able to promptly control and ultimately eradicate it.

He added that the project is a five-year plan designed to make the municipality of Malay and Boracay Island a rabies-free community. It is intended to protect the local populace and tourists from deadly rabies diseases resulting from rabid dog bites.

According to Dr. Naigan, the components of the program are the enactment and implementation of local laws on dog control, organizing rabies control coordinating committee (municipal and barangay levels), campaign on responsible pet ownership, capability enhancement of animal and health workers, vaccination of all healthy dogs and cats, campaign on dog control measures and rabies surveillance system. It will be implemented in partnership with the local, provincial, regional and national government agencies. The collaborative effort is to integrate scarce financial and technical resources from different government agencies in order to achieve a common goal. To make the project efficient and effective as well as sustainable, it will be institutionalized in the municipal and barangay levels. (ASU-ECS) [top]

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