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Cebu News

DOH: Rabies-free Visayas Island project a success

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – After over six years since the Rabies-free Visayas Island Project was launched, three Visayas provinces have been declared as rabies-free zones.

With this, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and the World Health Organization consider the project, which is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as a success.

The project, which was launched in 2009 and will be concluded by the end of 2015, has been committed to reduce or eradicate the incidence of indigenously acquired human and animal rabies in the Visayas Group of Islands.

As of this year, DOH has declared Malapascua Island and Camotes Island in Cebu as rabies-free. Other islands declared as rabies-free are Apo Island, Boracay Island, Olympia Island and Guimaras Island and the three provinces are Biliran, Limasawa and Siquijor.

DOH, through the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, recognizes the cooperation and effort done by the local government units in fighting rabies.

“We attribute this enormous success to the key strategies and interventions we have utilized under the leadership of our LGUs. Undoubtedly, it was this very keen set of strategies and interventions which served as key to eliminate rabies in such provinces and municipalities. The DOH and WHO would like to acknowledge and award the LGU’s that achieved this status through their implementation of the key program strategies and interventions,” said Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH-7 director.

The main strategy, according to Bernadas, involves prevention of human rabies through the control and eventual elimination of canine rabies, creating a paradigm shift for human rabies prevention.

The Rabies-free Visayas Island Project includes mass dog vaccinations, consultative meetings and planning workshops, advocacy meetings with LGUs, strengthening of rabies diagnostic laboratories, providing additional vaccines for post-exposure prophylaxis of animal bite patients, as well as promoting responsible pet ownership and surveillance.

The project is part of a global initiative that aims to push for similar initiatives to control and eliminate rabies in Africa and Asia within the next decade. It plans to disseminate the best practices to be replicated by the other LGUs towards a rabies-free Philippines 2020.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will attend a stakeholder’s recognition today in Boracay.

City Veterinarian Dr. Pilar Romero and City Health officer Dr. Daisy Villa were also invited to the event. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

AFRICA AND ASIA APO ISLAND BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION BORACAY ISLAND CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL BUREAU ISLAND RABIES VISAYAS ISLAND PROJECT
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