Pangasinan intensifies anti-rabies campaign


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III urged all dog owners in Pangasinan to cooperate with the government to reduce if not eradicate rabies cases in the province.

In the Health Leaders Summit on Rabies Prevention and Control held recently at the Sison Auditorium, the governor said that rabies eradication cannot be done overnight but it can possibly be attained with the concerted efforts of various sectors and the people themselves.

The summit was organized by the Provincial Government of Pangasinan through the Provincial Health Office with funding from the Department of Health.

Specifying that health care service tops his administration’s program thrust, the provincial chief executive noted that all local government units in Pangasinan must do the same.

Based on record, the Philippines ranked 10th in the world with most number of rabies cases. Pangasinan, on the other hand, ranked 4th in the entire country in 2014 and eventually went number one in 2015.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario, who heads the committee on health, said  it is very alarming for Pangasinan to post the most number of cases nationwide.

Rosario noted that the present situation serves as a challenge to each Pangasinense as he added that information dissemination should be heightened to raise awareness on what responsible pet ownership is all about.

Full enforcement of laws with the cooperation of other line agencies like the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Education must be implemented.

In terms of legislation, the 4th district board member said that despite the existence of RA 9482 otherwise known as Responsible Pet Ownership Act, only 34 out of 47 LGUs in Pangasinan have existing local ordinance.

Meanwhile, Irene Madonna Almeida, Nurse IV, DOH Region I Infectious Diseases Program Coordinator, reported that there were 25 human deaths in the region in 2015. The province of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte has zero fatality while Pangasinan recorded 19 and La Union has 6.

Provincial Health Officer Anna Ma. Teresa De Guzman,  attributed the human death cases in Pangasinan to non-access on Animal Bite Center or lack of awareness among people as a majority of  people still believe in resorting to quack medicine.

Other possible reasons why cases of rabies in Pangasinan is high, De Guzman said, was lack of vaccine in the previous years.

De Guzman disclosed that this year, the PHO manages the vaccination so that it can monitor the cases and find solutions in controlling the rabies virus.

Furthermore, De Guzman stated that Pangasinan has 16 animal bite centers. Thus, she encouraged patients bitten by rabid dogs to avail of the free vaccinations of four doses.

On the other hand, Dr. Eric Jose Perez encourages dog owners to have their pets castrated. In this way, he said, dog population can be controlled.

Perez revealed that Pangasinan has a total dog population of 381,351. Out of this number, the OPVet is targeting at least 70 percent of the total dog population to be vaccinated which translates to about 266,946 canines. So far, the OPVet has recorded some 66,821 dogs vaccinated.

In terms of human rabies cases in Pangasinan this year, DOH regional office has posted 50 positive cases with human deaths recorded in the following towns and cities: Lingayen, 6; San Fabian, 5; San Carlos, 5 and Dagupan, 4.

A Pledge of Commitment, which was read by Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. was signed by the regional and provincial officials present as well as the participants from various local health zones in Pangasinan.

By Dexter A. See