Health workers become certified rabies educators and reach more communities, despite lockdown.
For many years now, we at the Animal Bite Treatment Center of the Batangas Medical Center in the Philippines have been working hard towards a rabies free country by 2030. We work daily to ensure that 100% of our patients exposed to animal bites are given complete vaccination against rabies. In addition, we provide health education to the patients and their companions, as we believe that this will help to prevent future exposures and visits to our clinic.
Every month, residents, clinical clerks and interns of the Department of Family and Community Medicine hold education events regarding rabies and responsible pet ownership in the hospital atrium and in the communities.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our duties were severely restricted - while we were able to continue giving rabies vaccination and care to patients and bite victims, we were unable to undertake our other initiatives, thus stopping us from reaching out to the communities to provide health education.
The online education courses on offer from the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) became instrumental for us to continue providing education regarding rabies to these at-risk communities. The clinical clerks from the Adventist University of the Philippines, who were rotating at the department of Family and Community Medicine, completed the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC) course and passed on their knowledge to their families and to the community through different online platforms. We are planning to continue these community education initiatives using the GARC Education Platform, as it allows us to reach more individuals and communities with the pandemic restrictions and budgetary restrictions that we have.
The more people that we educate regarding rabies and responsible pet ownership, the closer we will be to be rabies free by 2030.
You can also use the GARC Education Platform to reach communities and educate them about the dangers of rabies and how to prevent the spread of this terrible disease. Please support the work of GARC to help develop more resources for people around the world in rabies endemic countries to use, so that we can work together to achieve the goal of Zero by 30.
Article contributed by: Dr Louielei Francisco and the staff of the Batangas Medical Center