The Bohol Rabies Project showed the world it is possible to eliminate rabies.
Although Bohol finished in 2010, we continue to work in the region to expand rabies free zones and extend our model of rabies prevention to other diseases and public health concerns.
Replicating Bohol - Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE)
The Bohol model is being used as the basis for projects in the Province of Ilocos Norte and the Sorsogon Peninsula (Philippines), where canine rabies is endemic; and, in Nias (Indonesia) which has historically been free of the disease but where dog rabies has recently been introduced.
Like Bohol, these projects aim to
• eliminate the disease in dogs (the main carriers of the disease)
• reduce dog bites, and
• prevent human rabies
by establishing sustainable diagnostic and surveillance systems and mobilizing community volunteers to help with large-scale, ongoing canine vaccination campaigns and registration of dogs.
Rabies prevention and responsible pet ownership will also be incorporated into the elementary school curriculum.
Keeping rabies out
A cross-border program, involving the municipalities of Marikina and Cainta, is addressing the challenge of preventing reintroduction of rabies from neighbouring endemic areas.
By agreeing on a common strategy, the localities help contain any outbreaks. These serve as a model for similar regions.
Children against rabies (CARe)
Children Against Rabies (CARe) is a community-based study on contact between school-age children and animals suspected of rabies.
4,700 children in grades 1-5 in public primary schools in the Municipality of El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, took part in the study from June 2011 to December 2012.
The results were compared to estimates from the existing surveillance system at the Animal Bite Centre.
The project team then collected data to compare the use of post-exposure vaccination and treatment at the Animal Bite Centre to help assess the economic impact of the pre-exposure immunisation.
The National Rabies Prevention and Control Programme of the Department of Health (DOH) vaccinated the children for the study.
At the same time, the Department of Education incorporated a rabies prevention programme and responsible pet ownership into the primary school curriculum.
The team continue to monitor and measure the children’s awareness of rabies and responsible pet ownership, and the extent to which teachers make use of the manual.
The community volunteers
The Bohol model is based on mobilizing the community to take the steps necessary to prevent rabies. In the Province of Ilocos Norte, 928 volunteers were enlisted covering 21 municipalities and two cities.
They have been trained to help with activities such as dog registration and large-scale vaccination of dogs.
Building on this success, volunteers and youth leaders are now being trained in Sorsogon, Marikina and Cainta.
And, synchronised dog vaccination campaigns are being arranged across all study sites for March 2013, to coincide with National Rabies Awareness Month in the Philippines.