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PIA Press Release

DOH conducts planning workshop for rabies elimination project for Visayas

Tacloban City (June 1) -- The Department of Health Eastern Visayas is set to conduct a two-day live-in Consultative Planning Workshop for the Rabies Elimination Project for the Visayas on June 2 to 3, 2010 in Tacloban City.

DOH Director Edgardo Gonzaga informed that the Rabies Elimination Project for the Visayas is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the World Health Organization.

The activity will serve as an avenue towards a Rabies-free Eastern Visayas, Director Gonzaga said.

The World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are currently working to control and eventually eliminate rabies in low-income countries particularly Tanzania, South Africa and the Philippines.

In the Philippines, the project is implemented at the three regions of the Visayas Island. The project will include only the Visayas group of islands, which contain 25% of the total number of animal rabies cases, 28% of the total cases of human rabies and 27% of animal bites for the entire country (based on the 2006 annual rabies report).

The project site covers three out of the country?s 17 administrative regions, 16 out of 82 provinces and 31 out of 117 cities and serve almost 19% of the country?s human population (17 million inhabitants) and an estimated 9 million dogs.

Implementation of the project will be divided into two phases. Phase I (year 1) will cover the entire western Visayas and two provinces of central Visayas (human population, 8.7 million). Phase II (year 2 onwards) will cover the remaining provinces of central Visayas (Cebu and Bohol) and the entire eastern Visayas region (human population, 8.3 million).

Priority will be given to western Visayas, since this region has been consistently highly endemic for human and canine rabies and has the highest number of patients with animal bites. As a result of logistic restrictions, the Philippine National Rabies Prevention Control Program is still between phases I and II. At the end of the project, it would move into Phase III of animal rabies control, with all the islands of Visayas declared rabies-free zones.

Program activities include mass vaccination of dogs, establishment of central database system for registered and vaccinated dogs; impounding; field control and disposition of unregistered, stray and unvaccinated dogs; educational programs on rabies control; provision of prophylaxis to high risk individuals and school children aged 5 to 14 years old in areas where there is high incidence of rabies; provision of post-exposure treatment to animal bite patients; and encouragement of the practice of responsible pet ownership.

The project would make a "one medicine" for human rabies prevention through dog rabies control and eventual elimination towards 2015.

It aims to achieve rabies-free Visayas Islands by 2015 and rabies-free Philippines by 2020. (PIA 8) [top]

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