Monday, February 23, 2015

Legazpi launches search for model barangays in anti-rabies accomplishment

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 21 (PNA) -– Recognition and cash awards are now at stake for barangays in this city that will be judged this year and onward as best performer in the city government’s anti-rabies drive.

City Mayor Noel Rosal on Saturday said the awards will be for winners in the search for model barangays rolled out along with the recent launch of the city’s High Density Rabies Vaccination (HDRV) project which was highlighted by an orientation-seminar attended by over 500 barangay officials and health workers.

Winners in the search will be judged according to the number of vaccinated dogs; rate of accomplishment in zero-stray dogs and human and animal casualty; and rate of participation by Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in the implementation of the HDRV project, according to Rosal.

“We want a rabies-free, zero casualty city this year and onward through this HDRV. We are supporting this program with an ordinance on responsible pet ownership which the local legislative council is now formulating in coordination with the City Veterinary Office (CVO),” he said.

The proposed ordinance, the mayor said, would also provide a forum for an inter-agency coordination on rabies control and prevention program, mechanism for linkages with the barangays and formulate immediate and long-term policies, plans and programs for the control of rabies which the city government shall implement.

It is also expected to provide a medium for the involvement of all barangays in the control of rabies and a system to collate, consolidate and submit all necessary reports as required and perform such other functions as may be necessary in the prevention and control of rabies in the whole city.

HDRV is a project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its Stop Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses (STANDZ), a program whose goal is to eradicate rabies in Bicol and supported by the Australian Aid, through the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Australian Aid has given the program Php 40-million funding for its three-year implementation in Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Masbate while the OIE gave the DA 300,000 vaccines for dogs in an effort to make the four provinces dog rabies-free by 2016.

Bicol was chosen for the project owing to its geographical location at the central part of the Philippines, apart from its being considered as a tourism growth area that is being complemented by the aggressive development that the city government here is undertaking as the regional tourism center.

These developments involve tourism promotion, infrastructure, investment, health, environmental protection and peace and order, among others.

Rosal stressed that if there are no cases of rabies in a certain place, more local and foreign tourists will be enticed to come.

During the HRDV orientation-seminar, DA’s Regional Animal Disease Coordinator Dr. Rona Bernales said the STANDZ program does not only concern dogs but cats, carabaos, cows, bats, rabbits, monkeys and even humans which are all vulnerable to rabies infections.

Under the HDRV, Bernales said, DA is encouraging local officials to designate an animal health worker in every barangay to assist in its implementation which the agency is starting here and in various parts of Bicol very soon.

She explained that using more vaccination teams, extended times, door-to-door vaccination and timing vaccination to coincide with school holidays would facilitate an estimated coverage of at least 75 percent.

There is also a need for a better understanding of dog ecology as well as ways of improving vaccination delivery and sustainability coverage that can be achieved with the help of barangay animal health workers, she said.

The HDRV program, according to Bernales, comes into being based on the fact that incidence of rabies in dogs remains a health concern in many parts of the region.

All over the country, rabies is not one of the top ten killer diseases but records show it kills 200 to 500 Filipinos a year.

Nancy Andes, the CVO chief, said this city recorded cases of animal and human rabies deaths during the past three years.

In 2012, there were five death cases of rabid dogs and cats in barangays Arimbay and Buyuan while three death cases of rabid dogs were reported in Barangays Pinaric, Puro and Old Albay District.

In 2014, one rabid dog case was reported in Barangay Rawis while for human deaths, three cases were recorded in years 2012-2013 in barangays Rawis, Puro and EM's Barrio East.(PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/pjn