PIA Press Release
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
by Irma A. Guhit
SORSOGON CITY, November 15 (PIA) — The Sorsogon Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) here will be a recipient of a 3-year program on Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), a program under the Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE), according to provincial veterinarian Dr. Enrique Espiritu.
Espiritu said that the program under the GARC of the American government will be funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation with $300,000 prorated on a $100,000 yearly.
“It will facilitate the coordination of surveillance, molecular epidemiology, dog population model control, participation in health economics group and consultation for rabies prevention and control models,” he said.
Espiritu also said that this undertaking has been an offshoot of the Bohol success story that demonstrated that rabies can be eliminated and children can be saved by empowering communities to take responsibility, develop and share adequate tools for sustainability provided by global assistance and expertise.
Using the Bohol model, Espiritu said that the proposal of Sorsogon is to replicate this experience and make the province a sustainable rabies free area.
He said that based on studies conducted, rabies is a disease of poverty that mainly affects children living in marginalized communities. Over 99 percent of human rabies deaths today occur in Africa and Asia as a result of being bitten by an infected dog and up to 60 percent of all dog bites and rabies deaths occur in children under 15 years of age.
Rabies, according to world statistics, is a life-threatening risk for over 1 billion people living in poverty across Asia and Africa.
Espiritu said that with this program, the local government will strengthen awareness to prevent exposure to this disease by eliminating or controlling the source of infection in dog populations.
“Massive dog vaccination is cost effective to control rabies and sustainable than interventions aimed at humans only,” he said.
The program will also recommend the reduction of dog population to be supported by local communities and that by reducing the reproduction rate of dogs, the cost of rabies control programs will also be significantly reduced as would the incidence of public health problems associated with dogs as vectors.
Espiritu also expressed that this proposal to the GARC was made possible through the recommendation of former governor Sally Ante Lee and was submitted in 2009 during her incumbency but was only approved this year. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)