Bohol Island Rabies Free?

By JUNE S. BLANCO  

  Zero may be a record that nobody wants to hold. But when it comes to rabies cases, the rule of thumb is the lower the number, the better the performance is.

  And Bohol is gunning for just that: zero record.

  This after eight – going nine – months into 2009, the province has not encountered any case of human or canine rabies yet.

  Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, provincial veterinarian, expressed hope that Bohol's record will stay as such until the year ends and onwards.

  This after the province launched an innovative program designed to make the anti-rabies campaign sustainable: integrating rabies awareness and responsible pet ownership in the elementary school curriculum – on top of dog registration, vaccination and elimination where required.

  In collaboration with the Makati City-based IP Foundation (IPF), a non-profit organization that advocates affordable and accessible health care and bridging the digital divide, Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado embarked on another convergence project – printing of rabies manuals for distribution to teachers in public elementary schools.

  Lapiz said statistics show that Bohol registered 10 cases of human rabies in 2007 and five in 2008 wherein all – most of them schoolchildren – died.

  As such, Aumentado found it imperative to increase awareness in rabies as well as responsible pet ownership in schoolchildren who will become parents themselves in the future.

  To achieve this, he signed an executive order mandating the reproduction of a rabies manual and distributing them to all elementary school teachers in the province for use as reference material starting school year 2009-2010, for which the Bohol schools division superintendent shall provide periodic reports on its implementation to the Provincial School Board.

  As such, parents can now expect their children to recite figures, perform mathematical operations and other functions using sample problems geared towards rabies awareness in the subject areas of English, Mathematics, Science, Filipino and Makabayan.

  Parents and guardians may now find more frequent and urgent the requests from their children or wards to register, vaccinate and put on leash their pet dogs.

  The use of the manuals was piloted in Corella town but Aumentado said Supt. Elpidio Jala has reported that the distribution of the reference material to all teachers has been completed.