Preventing Rabies Through Animal Welfare

posted March 13, 2021 at 08:50 pm
by  Greg Salido Quimpo and Heidi Marquez
"AKF has investigated cases in the past wherein children became victims of dog meat eating and died from rabies. One case was so fatal that death occurred within hours because, as the doctor explained to us then, the little girl had decaying tooth and the virus attacked her brain through her damaged cavities."

As decreed by a presidential order, March is officially the month of Rabies Awareness Month (RAM) in the Philippines. This commemoration provides the avenue for a nationwide information campaign around rabies prevention/control accompanied by a free dog and cat vaccination spearheaded by the government.

Consistently, AKF has been partnering with other private organizations and pertinent government units in staging these activities in various communities in the country.

In 2019, the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (NRPCC) was handed lesson plans on rabies prevention developed by the Department of Education in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), an international organization based in the US.

AKF partners with local government units (LGUs) to have as many dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies.  
As part of its awareness campaign, AKF has launched many creative approaches to share life-saving rabies prevention knowledge while advocating responsible pet ownership.

Rabies is transmitted after a bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats. It is also transferred when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions.

Rabies is 100 per cent  fatal though 100 per cent preventable. In the Philippines, the DOH records show that rabies is (1) one of the most acutely fatal infections and (2) responsible for the death of 200-300 Filipinos annually.

The following laws and regulations are set to further bolster the government’s campaign of eradicating rabies in the country:

1. Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 (Republic Act 9482) : An Act Providing for the Control and Elimination of Human and Animal Rabies.

2. Batas Pambansa Bilang 97: An Act Providing for the Compulsory Immunization of   Livestock, Poultry and other Animals against Dangerous Communicable Diseases.

3. Executive Order No. 84: Declaring March as the Rabies Awareness Month, Rationalizing the Control Measures for the Prevention and Eradication of Rabies.

4. Memorandum of Agreement on Interagency Implementation of the NRPCP: Signed in May 1991 by the Secretaries of Agriculture (DA), Health (DOH), Local Government (DILG) and Education, Culture and Sports, now, Department of Education.

Spaying  and neutering dogs and cats help control animal population, which leads to lesser chances of rabies spreading to communities. AKF partners with veterinarians and LGUs to continue spay-neuter programs.
5. Joint DA, DOH, DepEd, DILG Administrative Order No. 01 Series of 2008: Implementing Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act 9482 An Act Providing for the Control and Elimination of Human and Animal Rabies, Prescribing Penalties for Violation Thereof.

6. Administrative Order No. 2014-0012 entitled New Guidelines on the Management of Rabies Exposures: To provide new policy guidelines and procedure to ensure an effective and efficient management for eventual reduction if not elimination of human rabies.

7. Administrative Order No. 2018-0013 entitled Revised Guidelines on the Management of Rabies Exposures: Ensure availability of anti-rabies vaccines to allow the use of Non-WHO Prequalified Rabies Vaccine but registered and approved by FDA only when there is shortage of vaccines.

8. Joint Department Administrative Order No. 01 entitled Guidelines for Declaring Areas as Rabies-Free Zones: To provide the guidelines for declaring zones/areas as Rabies-Free by which the DA, DOH and other concerned institutions and agencies that will administer programs and activities on the control, prevention and elimination of Rabies

Advocacy Campaign

AKF’s campaign against the dog meat trade, primarily to end cruelty against the victimized dogs, is also a significant contributor to rabies prevention.

AKF has investigated cases in the past wherein children became victims of dog meat eating and died from rabies. One case was so fatal that death occurred within hours because, as the doctor explained to us then, the little girl had decaying tooth and the virus attacked her brain through her damaged cavities.   

A responsible pet owner is crucial to the campaign against rabies as pets must be be given the  anti-rabies shot to protect both humans and animals.
AKF’s spaying, neutering and anti-rabies vaccination program is a year-round activity including its education campaign on responsible pet ownership.

These vital activities are geared towards the protection of animals while, undoubtedly, impacting the fight against rabies.

Pet owners must have their dog/s registered, vaccinated, spayed and neutered while the government must implement the abovementioned regulations strictly to ensure that the goal of eradicating human rabies in the Philippines will be achieved.

Check your local billboards for events celebrating Rabies Awareness Month and report unusual practice of animal cruelty and suspected dog meat trading activities. 

Topics: Rabies Awareness Month , Animal Welfare , dog and cat vaccination , AKF
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