By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6 called on the public to be responsible pet owners especially since the number of animal bite cases is expected to increase in April and May.
“April and May amo na ni ang gataas ang animal bite cases. Amo na gina-ayo naton sa mga pumuluyo nga kita mismo mangin responsible pet owner kita and indi naton pagpalagawon aton mga ido,” said Ame Liz Mardoquio, program coordinator of the Rabies Prevention and Control of DOH-6, in a press conference on Monday at the City Hall.
According to Mardoquio, they are now shifting their campaign to dog vaccination following the global shortage of human vaccines since last year.
“Subong nga tuig, ma–shift ang focus sa dog vaccination since may global shortage kita worldwide. Wala naton na anticipate nga ang isa ka prequalified anti-rabies vaccine na pullout sa merkado,” she lamented.
The DOH last year stopped Rabipur’s production and temporarily suspended its procurement due to quality issues.
Another vaccine brand, Verorab, also suffered production failure due to shortage in raw materials.
Mardoquio revealed that the regional office has not received any vaccine supplies from the DOH central office since April 2018.
Last December, the regional office procured almost 6,580 vials of vaccines worth P8.1-million, however the said supply can only cater to 5 to 6 percent of the animal bite cases in the region.
“We procured 6,580 vials of vaccines for the region.”
Aside from this, the DOH regional office will also be purchasing 2,000 more vaccines using its P2.5-million budget.
However, the supplies of vaccines will not be available until the third or fourth quarter this year.
“Nag-inform ang central office may pala-abuton nga allocation mga 6,000 vials plus 2,000 vials that totals to 8,000 pero depende sa bidding pa yan so siguro mga third or fourth quarter pa mareceive,” Mardoquio said.
With the possible increase of animal bite cases in the region in the upcoming months and the shortage of vaccines, the health department appealed to the public to be wary and responsible in assuring that their pet dogs and cats are free from rabies.
“Indi kita magsalig sa allocation sang central office. Kita mismo mangin responsible pet owners kita kay laban madamo bite cases na naman kag wala kita enough nga bakuna,” she stressed.
In celebration of the Rabies Awareness Month this March, the health department underscored the role of pet owners in the prevention and elimination of rabies.
“Obligado kita sa aton responsibilidad sa pageliminate sang sakit kay kung wala rabies sa ido, wala man rabies sa tawo. Aton gusto ipalambot sa pumuluyo dapat responsible kita sang aton mga ido, kung kadton kita makadto kita dapat sa pinakalapit na Animal Bite Center,” Dr. Elvie Villalobos chief, Infectious Disease Cluster, DOH-6.
Rabies is an acute, progressive, incurable viral encephalitis with a fatal outcome, according to DOH-6.
The disease can be transmitted either through bite exposure or injection of infectious saliva into a break in skin or licking of scratches, abrasions, open wounds or intact mucus membrane.