Eliminating rabies, one island at a time

A look at how the health and agriculture departments in the Philippines have teamed up to eliminate the disease by 2020.

Last Modified: 19 Sep 2013 08:17
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In the Philippines, the department of health and the department of agriculture, have teamed up to create a programme to help eliminate rabies, one island at a time.

Enrique Tayag, assistant secretary of health designate, said that rabies is an ongoing problem in the country.

"Roughly every year, we have 300,000 to 400,000 reported dog bites," he says, "Most of the rabies cases are due to [bites from] dogs. We have around 200 to 300 human cases of rabies every year."

To tackle these cases, the government departments are working together - the Ilcos Norte, Metro Manila, and Sorsogon provinces are some of the regions where this programme is to be tested out.

There are three components of the plan; dog vaccinations, responsible pet ownership and providing post-exposure vaccines for humans.

Tayag says the programme has seen some success but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

"We had a breakthrough in 2008 when Siquijor was the first island province to be declared rabies free," says Tayag. "It was followed by several other island provinces being declared rabies free. That will continue until we have eliminated rabies in 2020."

Lifelines: The Quest for Global Health will air on Al Jazeera in 2014.


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Lifelines: The Quest For Global Health
is Al Jazeera's new cross-platform project profiling the extraordinary work of global health workers as they tackle eight deadly diseases and conditions that afflict vulnerable communities across the globe. These good news stories stretch from the Philippines to Pakistan, Uganda to South Sudan, India to Senegal, featuring the people who are working to prevent, control or eradicate malaria, rabies, polio, leprosy, schistosomiasis, Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma and maternal and neonatal mortality. Online, on screen and on the ground in affected communities, we will share their uplifting stories in Lifelines: The Quest For Global Health.
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