Prompt action saves lives. The Philippines is developing the Rapid Response Toolkit for Rabies to serve as a quick reference guide to effectively respond to rabies. Through the One Health approach, the toolkit highlights the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders in responding to rabies cases efficiently.
With schools staying closed and millions of children worldwide missing out on critical education, many schools have gone digital. To adapt, one of GARC’s education programs has worked with partners to adapt a storybook about rabies into an animated video. Through collaboration, the video will reach millions more children, educating them to help End Rabies Now.
To expand the pool of rabies educators in the Philippines to include non-classroom personnel, the Department of Education conducted a national workshop to equip school health personnel with rabies knowledge and new strategies for teaching children about the fatal disease. The workshop, entitled the National Orientation on Integration of Rabies Education in the National Curriculum, was held in May for more than 40 doctors, nurses, and dentists from almost all regions in the Philippines.
GARC’s Community-Based Rabies Surveillance (CBRS) project was implemented in the Philippines in February 2019, and now that the CBRS system has been in place in Poblacion Village for 6 months, the use of a more active surveillance system has resulted in an increase in reportable rabies events in 2019 compared to the previous year. Additionally, as of August 2019, a total of 8 confirmed animal rabies cases were detected in the entire city, compared to just 5 during the same time period in 2018.
In the Philippines, the month of March is celebrated every year as Rabies Awareness Month (RAM), and this year’s event was centered around the theme of “Community as one against rabies, be a responsible pet owner”. The highlight of the celebration was a ceremonial dog vaccination campaign, as well as the ceremonial turnover of eight lesson plans on rabies prevention by GARC and the Department of Education to the National Rabies and Control Committee.
Philippine community health teams working in rabies prevention have implemented the first-ever, real-time use of GARC’s Community Based Rabies Surveillance (CBRS) tool. As of February 2019, local community health workers in Muntinlupa are now actively using this online software tool that is designed to provide simple, yet comprehensive, surveillance of both human and animal rabies exposures.
The Philippines’ Department of Education (Dep Ed) and GARC have been collaborating for the past two years to integrate rabies in the national education curriculum for kindergarten through grade 10, and these lesson plans will be uploaded to the Dep Ed’s learning resources online portal before the end of the current school year, March 2019. It is envisioned that the national rabies education integration initiative will benefit an estimated 21 million students in 46,847 public schools.
A new research study undertaken by GARC and recently published in PLoS ONE has quantified the benefits and the limitations of relying on the provision of human vaccine to prevent deaths from dog transmitted rabies. These new findings are of great significance to all rabies endemic countries hoping to reach the global goal of zero human deaths by 2030.
Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) and GARC have teamed up in the Philippines to develop educational videos, e-learning modules, and teaching guides as part of their ongoing work to educate children about rabies.
In the Philippines, the GARC online education tools are being integrated into some veterinary college curricula. Here we share two stories about how the skills of students are being boosted so that they can participate more confidently in rabies education and vaccination in their communities.