Ilocos Norte awarded as top-performing LGU in rabies elimination
In recognition for their continuous rabies elimination efforts, the province of Ilocos Norte was awarded as one of the top-performing Local Government Units (LGU) during the 2017 National Rabies Summit. They were presented with the award as part of the World Rabies Day celebration in the Philippines, on September 28. The National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee recognised Ilocos Norte for having zero human and canine rabies, 70% dog vaccination coverage and 90%-95% completion of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in 2014-2016. Ilocos Norte has also been consistently conducting various activities on rabies awareness in the community. This is the second year in a row that the province has received an award for their rabies program.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and the UBS Optimus Foundation were partnering with the Province of Ilocos Norte to eliminate rabies from 2012-2016. The Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE) Project was implemented in the province along with other project sites in the country.
Through the CARE Project, various activities were conducted in the province, including: mass dog vaccination especially in high risk areas, prevention of dog bites and human rabies through information campaigns, strengthening of diagnostics and surveillance systems, community awareness and mobilization, and integration of rabies education into elementary schools.
The rabies elimination in the province has been a collective effort from various stakeholders such as the government agencies, academe, private sectors, community members, and GARC.
To achieve the required dog vaccination coverage, led by the Provincial Veterinary Office, volunteers from the villages were trained to help in the rabies program especially on dog surveys, dog registrations, and the reporting of animal bite incidents.
Several rabies awareness approaches were piloted in the province to reach different groups of the community. Health and Agriculture personnel were trained as rabies educators to conduct seminars in their respective communities. Radio programs and plugs, local newspapers, television stations, and the web were also used as media to promote rabies awareness to the public. Other information materials such as posters, brochures, fliers, and tarpaulins were distributed and placed in strategic areas throughout the province.
Rabies education messages were also integrated in the school curriculum to reach the elementary students. Key messages include rabies awareness, bite prevention and management, and responsible pet ownership. For younger children (ages 3-5 years old), Early Childhood Intervention was conducted in day care centers to promote responsible pet ownership through interactive storytelling and games.
Ilocos Norte also actively celebrates World Rabies Day every year. They conduct Rabies Quiz Bee for elementary students since 2013, and other events to promote rabies awareness and responsible pet ownership.
Ilocos Norte is indeed making great efforts to make its province rabies-free.
Contributed by Eunice Mendoza of the GARC Philippines team. To learn more about Ilocos Norte’s efforts in rabies elimination, please see here