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ARMM targets to achieve rabies-free region in 3 years
« on: March 10, 2017, 12:54:46 PM »
ARMM targets to achieve rabies-free region in 3 years

COTABATO CITY, March 10 (PNA) -- Within three years, officials expect the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to be rabies-free in line with the campaign to make the Philippines rabies-free by 2020.

ARMM officials on Friday commenced a massive campaign to eradicate rabies in the region's five provinces through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) and partner agencies.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease of dogs and other domesticated animals, which is transmissible to humans through the pets' saliva.

The achievement of rabies-free Philippines by 2020 is the country’s goal to support the government’s drive of eliminating rabies-caused human deaths by 2030.

To actively participate in the nationwide campaign, DAF-ARMM will conduct series of rabies awareness program in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The first recipients of the information dissemination were students of Broce Central Elementary School of Peace and the community in Broce, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

According to Dr. Norodin Kuit, ARMM’s regional anti-rabies coordinator, the outreach program was aimed at raising awareness on rabies and to call on residents to prevent such disease through responsible pet ownership.

The program included mass vaccination of domesticated animals, especially dogs.

Locals and pet owners welcomed the move by DAF-ARMM. Among them was Myrna Jacolon, 33, who owns a cat and three dog pets. She said attending such program was educational, and the immunization of her pets against rabies means protecting her pets, her family and the community she lives in from danger.

"It is better to have our pets vaccinated than we treat ourselves from dog bites," she said.

Veterinarian Cathy Moira of the Bureau of Animal Industry cited statistics why dog vaccination should not be ignored by anyone.

"For every 10 minutes, someone dies of rabies worldwide. Most affected are children four to 15 years old," she said.

In the country, at least 1,100 Filipinos experience animal bites every day, and there were around 230 deaths in 2015 and 180 deaths in January to September 2016.

Moira advised anyone who is bitten by animals to immediately wash the wound with soap or detergent using running water, disinfect the wound with alcohol, consult a doctor and seek the nearest bite center in the locality for medical attention.

Moira said that as of 2016, there are around 480 Animal Bite Treatment Centers in the country.

In Maguindanao, the animal bite center is housed at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital in the town of Shariff Aguak.

Aside from the outreach program, DAF-ARMM also conducted free vaccination of pets, especially dogs, at the DAF-ARMM compound in Cotabato City.

Kuit said in an interview that having responsible pet owners would significantly help in preventing rabies.

The veterinarian also advised pet owners to have their animals vaccinated at age three and every year thereafter.

Kuit also advised pet owners to ensure they have proper nutrition.

Pet dogs should not be allowed to roam freely on the streets because they may acquire rabies when they mingle with street dogs. (PNA)

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