Catanduanes awarded rabies-free province
By Connie Calipay LEGAZPI CITY---- The island province of Catanduanes recently received an award for being human and animal rabies-free province during the 2018 National Rabies Summit at Blue Leaf Filipinas at Parañaque City. Dr. Jane Rubio, PVO head, said in a phone interview that the province complied with and surpassed the national criteria requirements of 70 percent to be declared rabies-free. “The island attained high coverage of animal vaccination for 2 consecutive years, we maintained zero-case animal rabies in the past two years and we have 84 percent coverage of vaccinations or 16,036 vaccinated dogs from the 19, 199 dogs in the province.” Rubio explained. She also believed that the properly implemented and enforced ordinances related to rabies and animal movement in every barangay helped to attain the rabies-free province status. Rubio added that all 11 (Virac, Bato, Baras, Gigmoto, San Miguel, Viga, Payo, Bagamanoc, San Andres, Caramoran and Pandan) municipalities in the province were also declared as rabies-free zone as they have reached more than the expected coverage of vaccinations. “Every year we will continue the massive vaccination campaign in every barangay and help them to be empowered in protecting the lives of their constituents against rabies”. She said. Meanwhile, Dr. Hazel Palmes, Catanduanes Provincial Health Office (PHO) head, also in a phone interview confirmed that for straight eight years the province has sustained to be human rabies free. “We established Animal Bite Treatment Center in the province and designated trained personnel that managed and refer victims from the barangays to the treatment centers; Anti-rabies vaccines are also available for the victims.” Palmes said. Dr. Palmes explained that the Provincial Rabies Control Committee is continuing its effort to sustain the rabies-free status. “The award given is a joint Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA) declaration of Rabies Free or being free from canine rabies and human rabies.” She added. The committee is composed of the DA, DOH, the Interior and Local Government, and Education. Catanduanes became the 10th province in the country and the only one in the Bicol Region to be declared as Rabies-Free Province.