By John Noel E. Herrera
As the Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) kicked off its mass vaccination campaign against rabies in all towns, IPVO head Dr. Darel Tabuada said that their priority is to first vaccinate all stray dogs.
The IPVO unrolled its mass dog vaccination campaign against rabies in Leon, Iloilo on Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023.
Tabuada said almost 70 percent of dogs in the barangays are all stray dogs, which mostly became the source of rabies in the community, as they were always vulnerable and are not taken care of.
“Ang mga layaw nga ido (stray dogs) sila dapat ang first priority naton nga pamakunahan sa mga barangay. Ang mga pets, owned-dogs kag mga ara mismo sa sulod sang balay nga naka-cage lang, ginapa-ulihi naton sa priority. Ginatagaan gid priority ang mga layaw nga ido, kay ang mga layaw nga ido nga ara sa streets, amu ni siya ang budlay bakunahan and kung hindi naton mabakunahan subong, basi hindi na siya mabalikan,” Tabuada added.
The IPVO chief also asked the help of the public to assist the Barangay and Municipal Rabies Committee in vaccinating stray dogs, which he classified into different categories.
“May-ara ido (stray dogs) nga wala gid tag-iya and galagaw lang, may-ara man nga may tag-iya pero galagaw lang, kag may ara man nga wala tag-iya pero may nagapaka-on. So, tani, before the scheduled mass vaccination, dapat na-inform ang community nga tanan nga ido nga pwede madakpan, dapat mahigtan na,” Tabuada said.
Meanwhile, Tabuada said they are aiming to vaccinate 70 percent of the total dog population in the province, or 215,000 heads out of 307,578 total population.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. allotted P8 million for 20,150 vials of vaccines which were already distributed to all Local Government Units (LGUs) in the province.
“Halin sang January nag-amat-amat na kami panagtag sang vaccines and ara na, in place na ina sa mga municipal agriculture office kag na-stratigize naman namon subong ang pamaagi sa pagbakuna,” Tabuada said.
He also encouraged all pet owners to become responsible owners or parents and submit their dogs, and even cats for rabies vaccination.
“Your cooperation will save many lives kag kung i-submit nila ang ila kuring sa mass vaccination, ginabaton man na naton,” Tabuada said.
Tabuada said they forged a vaccination agreement with all the LGUs, noting that the provincial government would purchase the vaccines, while the LGUs would make sure to implement the project.
“Naghambal na kami nga ang ila mga budget sa pagbakal sang mga bakuna, ire-allign na nila sa pagbayad sang mga manugbakuna kay kami na sa probinsya ang bahala sa bakuna. Hindi na sila magbakal sang bakuna, pero dapat i-assure nila ang probinsya nga maka-implement sila,” he stressed.
IPVO is also willing to extend technical assistance for the training of dog vaccinators as they target to finish the mass vaccination in just three months or by April 2023, and aim to declare the entire Iloilo province as rabies-free by 2030.
“Gin-change naton ang aton strategy kay sang-una year round aton mass vaccination, pero we are targeting now nga matapos naton ang 70 percent dog population nga mabakunahan sa sulod sang tatlo ka bulan kay based man sa mga study previously, amu ni siya ang pinaka-ideal para makadevelop kita sang herd immunity,” Tabuada said.
The IPVO also said that there are now 26 rabies-free areas in the province, which include 18 areas from Concepcion, six from Carles, and two from Ajuy.
Data from Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) also indicated that Iloilo province recorded five fatalities and 79 canine rabies cases in 2022.
Records from the Department of Health (DOH) also showed that most rabies infections in the country were due to unvaccinated dogs with a 100 percent case fatality rate.