September 28, 2017

“Rabies can be prevented! Dog vaccination together with responsible pet ownership can help us to ACHIEVE our collective goal of a rabies-free Philippines by 2020. I, therefore, enjoin everyone TO PROTECT SELF and ACHIEVE ZERO BITES and Be Responsible Pet Owner!” Secretary Paulyn Ubial emphasized to all attendees of the 2017 National Rabies Summit in observance of World Rabies Prevention Day, with this year’s theme of “Rabies: Zero 2020.”

The Department of Health (DOH) spearheads this year’s event in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Education (DepEd), the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the other stakeholders. Highlights of the 2017 Philippine Rabies Summit is the announcement of eight (8) municipalities being declared as Rabies-free Areas this year. These are the Municipalities of Batuan, San Jacinto, San Francisco and Monreal of Ticlao Island, Masbate; the Municipalities of Corcuera, Banton and Concepcion of Romblon Province; and the Municipality of Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol, added to the declared 41 rabies-free areas in the country that have registered zero animal and human rabies for at least three consecutive years.

Moreover, it also aims to recognize the top performing LGUs/Provisional Rabies-free areas for maintaining dog vaccination in 2014-2016 at least 70%, zero canine rabies, zero human rabies and 90% PEP completion in animal bite cases, the Province of Ilocos Norte and the Municipalities of Mabuhay, Olutanga and Talusan in Zamboanga Sibugay.

All these recognitions are geared towards promoting the elimination of human rabies in the country and the declaration of a rabies-free Philippines by 2020.

In sustaining this health initiative, the DOH, through the National Rabies Prevention and control Program (NRPCP) in partnership with different agencies and local government units continue to implement activities and strategies to respond to the problem. The DOH provides free anti-rabies vaccine for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in all DOH-recognized ABTCs. Meanwhile, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation came up with Animal Bite Treatment Package (ABTP) by defraying the cost of PEP treatment among all qualified members.

The DOH has lined up various advocacy campaigns to disseminate information about Rabies, how animal bites are managed to prevent getting infected by it. The Department is also encouraging responsible pet ownership by having their pets vaccinated. Lastly, the public is warned against stray animals and to immediately go to the nearest Animal Bite Treatment center (ABTC) in case of any animal bites.

In closing, the Secretary remarked in her message, “the key in the prevention and control of Rabies is…. Protect Self, No to bites!”