Over 24 million school children to benefit from GARC’s work in the Philippines

Through the tireless work of GARC and its partners, the Philippines Department of Education has mandated the integration of rabies education into the public-school curriculum of this Pacific-island nation where rabies is still endemic. A total of 72 lesson plans have been developed that will reach an estimated 24 million Filipino schoolchildren. The lesson plans focus on all topics related to rabies, including rabies as a disease, responsible pet ownership, animal bite reporting and management, and animal bite prevention. These critical topics have been incorporated into different learning areas such as mathematics, English, health education, physical education, values education and Filipino language classes. The Department of Education also released a memorandum to support the celebration of the World Rabies Day events, such as rabies quiz bees and the certification of new rabies educators through the GARC Education Platform (GEP). The memo also serves as a guide on the use of the lesson plans.

Public-Private Partnership is very important in ensuring the health and welfare of school age children.  -USec. Tonisito Umali, Undersecretary for Partnerships of the Department of Education

To highlight this monumental achievement, the World Rabies Day celebration for the Philippines in 2019 focused on education with the theme, “Rabies: Educate to Eliminate”. The Department of Education hosted the national WRD celebration on September 30, 2019 to formally launch the lesson plans. The event was attended by more than 200 participants composed of national officials, regional rabies coordinators, teachers, civil society groups and the media. The event celebration was also an example of “bayanihan” (community spirit), wherein different government agencies and private organizations pitched in to make the event happen - from the meals to the design of the lesson plan manuals, shirts, backdrop and event kits.

Philippines_Lesson plan exemplar booklets_2019
Lesson plans available for distribution during the World Rabies Day event in the Philippines

The integration of rabies in the national curriculum was a 3-year process made possible through the collaboration between different member agencies/organizations of the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee such as the Department of Education - Bureau of Learner Support Services, Department of Health - Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Animal Industry, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, and the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association, with support from UBS Optimus Foundation and FOUR PAWS International. In addition to these partners, GARC would like to also acknowledge Ms. Mona Consunji from Animal Welfare Coalition for the front cover illustrations for the lessons plans, as well as the Japan-Philippines One Health Project of JICA, MSD Animal Health and World Health Organization Country Office for the support during the Philippines national World Rabies Day 2019 celebration.

All the lesson plans are suitable for primary and upper elementary education and are available for free on the GARC website,as well as through the Department of Education’s online learning resource portal. Learning support materials such as videos, storybooks and flipcharts are also available.

With your help, we can continue to educate children in rabies endemic countries. Click here to support a child and ensure they receive the life-saving knowledge to eliminate rabies.

Article contributed by: Dr Sarah Jayme, Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC)