2 LGUs declared as rabies-free-A A +A
Monday, September 30, 2013
BORACAY ISLAND -- The provincial islands of Guimaras and Boracay in Aklan, are the first in Western Visayas to be declared as rabies-free by the Department of Health (DOH).
In a declaration event held in Boracay last Saturday, the two local government units (LGUs) joined the rabies-free islands of Siquor, Batanes, Biliran, Camiguin, Marinduque, Limasawa, Camotes, and Apo in Negros Oriental as the first 10 rabies-free zones in the Philippines.
DOH director Juvencio Ordoña said the other islands are expected to be rabies-free by 2016 and the whole country by 2020.
An interagency arrangement between DOH and the Department of Agriculture’s dog vaccination program has forged successful rabies elimination as part of responsible pet ownership and human vaccination after rabies exposure from rabid dog bites.
In the Philippines, 200 to 250 victims of rabid dog bites died every year as compared to 55,000 deaths due to rabies worldwide. There are about 15 million dog population in the Philippines and considered as one of the highest in dog population with a budget of P42 million in 2012 which increased to P44 million in 2014 for vaccines.
Eradicating rabies through vaccination is not impossible with a target of 70 percent. The information education campaign on responsible pet owner is ongoing as provided in Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, Ordoña said.
Both islands in Western Visayas are known as top tourism islands in the region with no rabies cases in the last three years. The rabies-free Visayas Project is partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mayor John Yap of the municipality of Malay, Aklan covering the barangays of Yapak, Manoc-manoc and Balabag and the municipal and provincial health officers and barangay captains received the plaque of recognition.
Nueva Valencia Mayor Emmanuel Galila and Guimaras provincial health officer Felecito Lozarita received the plaque of recognition in behalf of Guimaras province and the municipalities of Jordan, Nueva Valencia, Buenavista, Sibunag, and San Lorenzo.