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PIA Press Release

IGACOS aims to be rabies-free island

by RG Alama

Davao City (9 November) -- The Island Garden City of Samal is aiming to be a rabies-free island with the concerted assistance coming from the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture.

This is the thrust of the national rabies control program in eradicating rabies in island cities and provinces which can be easily contained owing to their geographical isolation.

"It's easier to start programs like these in the island as it is easier to contain the disease. According to IGACOS Vice-Mayor Al David Uy during a press conference held last November 5 at the Marco Polo hotel Davao which was also attended by officials from the DOH and the DA.

The local government of IGACOS has been at the forefront of anti-rabies campaign in the region. The island had the region's first dog-impoundment facility outside of Davao City which was designed to control the spread of rabies by rabid dogs.

We have enough ordinances and programs here in the island. Uy said. However the vice-mayor is hoping the city's legislature will come up with a Quarantine Code for Samal in order to check its porous border.

Among the programs include dog vaccinations and other anti-rabies health services that are brought to the city's far-flung barangays. Animal bite center facilities and corresponding budget for indigent bite victims are also provided.

There is also a constant information campaign spearheaded by the island's barangay captains that will disseminate relevant anti-rabies information to the populace and disproving rabies myths and rumors.

In 2009, out of five suspected rabid dogs that were reported in IGACOS only one was confirmed to be rabies positive. In 2010 from another five alleged rabid dogs, two were tested positive for rabies.

Rafael Mercado, Chief of the DA-XI livestock division said that their agency will capacitate local technical people in the aspect of veterinary services to totally eradicate rabies. Among these programs is teaching lay people to administer anti-rabies vaccines.

The DOH also has committed 5,000 doses of canine vaccines which would be turned-over to DA which in turn will commit these to IGACOS.

The Philippines is ranked 6th in incidences of rabies in the world, and hopes to totally eradicate the virus by 2020.

And part of its strategy is social and community approach where the community is given an active role in program.

The role of the community is such a big thing. The ultimate responsibility for the success of the anti-rabies program lies in the people particularly the pet-owners. Dr, Raffy Deray, of the DOH National Rabies Control Program said. (PIA XI) [top]

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