Children Against Rabies Project gets underway

GARC’s Children Against Rabies (CARe) Project is now underway in El Nido, Philippines.

This project will protect children, save lives and gather valuable data on the impact of education as a rabies control measure.

Children have always been at particular risk from rabies – in part, because they have not yet learnt to be cautious around animals that are behaving oddly. School education programs are an effective way to address that.

And, when children go home and tell their families what they have learnt, the knowledge spreads through the wider community.

This project covers over five thousand school age children in all 27 public elementary schools of the El Nido Municipality. All participating children are given pre-exposure immunization, to protect them should they be exposed to rabies.

During the course of the project, the schools teach the children about the disease, including: how rabies is transmitted, how to avoid exposure, what to do if bitten or scratched, and the society-wide benefits of good pet stewardship.

A record is kept of the incidence of dog bites in participating children.

Analysis of this data will show us just how effective education is at protecting children from exposure to rabies.

We will compare our results with data collected before the intervention, to fully understand the health and cost benefits.

And, we will also assess the best way to collect information about dog-bite incidence.

Millions of people living in rabies endemic countries don’t know how to protect themselves from the disease nor, know what to do if they come into contact with a rabid animal. Folklore and misinformation are rife. Through this project we aim to provide hard evidence of education as a simple and cost effective way to save lives.