BACOLOD City launched Friday the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project for “Rabies-Free Visayas” at the New Government Center.

Doctor Raffy Deray, National Rabies Prevention Control Program (NRPCP) medical coordinator, said the World Health Organization through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is creating a one medicine paradigm shift in human rabies prevention through dog rabies control and eventual elimination.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

He said as part of the neglected and other infectious disease program, this project will demonstrate the feasibility and promote an evidence-based strategy for the prevention of a neglected zoonosis or human rabies in low-income countries.

He added that this project is to prevent rabies through the control and eventual elimination of canine rabies, creating a paradigm shift for human rabies prevention in Africa and Asia

Deray noted that based on the group's 2006 annual rabies report, Western Visayas has 25 percent of animal rabies cases, 28 percent of human rabies cases and 27 percent of animal bites cases.

He said the pet owners should have their dog regularly vaccinated against rabies and maintain a medical card containing all vaccinations conducted on their dog for accurate record purposes and submit their dog for mandatory registration among others.

He added that by 2013, Western Visayas would be rabies-free like some regions in the country.