THE town of Sablan together with 13 barangays in every town of Benguet ware awarded for their anti–rabies programs.
Awarded for their anti–rabies programs are: Naguey (Atok), Poblacion (Bakun), Daklan (Bokod), Buyacaoan (Buguias), Tuding (Itogon), Batan (Kabayan), Tacadang (Kibungan), Alapang (La Trinidad), Poblacion (Mankayan), Poblacion (Sablan), Camp 3 (Tuba), Basil (Tublay).
Dr. Mercedes Calpito, development officer IV of the Department of Health–Cordillera Administrative Region, said the winners were adjudged based on several criteria.
To qualify for the award, at least 70 percent of the total dog population within the municipality should be vaccinated for two conservative years; the presence of a standard operating procedures and guidelines in case there are cases of dog bites, and the functionality of rabies task of force of the town; the presence of an ordinance to support responsible pet ownership; sustained rabies advocacy yearly with counterparts; there should be no indigenous rabies cases for the past three years (2017-2019) and there should also be a budget for rabies program.
The assessment team consisted of representatives from the Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Health Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government – Benguet and Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Administrative Region.
The town of Sablan was awarded P20,000 cash prize while each barangay received P10,000.
Aside from Covid-19 pandemic, health authorities also reminded Benguet stakeholders to also concentrate on rabies.
With the province in community quarantine, healthcare workers said pets at home must also be in quarantine and should not be left wandering in their neighborhood to prevent rabies cases.
Since 2019, the province had no reported confirmed animal rabies cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) explained rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease that occurs in more than 150 countries around the world.
Dogs were determined as the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans.
WHO added the infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year mainly in Asia and Africa, citing 40 percent of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years old. They are spearheading the collective "United Against Rabies" to drive progress towards zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.