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Submitted: 19 October 2012 Modified: 02 October 2019
HERDIN Record #: PCHRD12101915541250

The anti-rabies campaign in Cagayan and Isabela: An assessment.

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The promotion of health is a concerted effort of all sectors, not only the providers of health services but the clientele as well, with other agencies and institutions collaborating, including government and non-government organizations (if present in the area), educational institutions, and local government units. This collaboration is embodied in a framework known as Formula One for Health. This thrust aims to promote improved accessibility and availability of basic and essential health care for all Filipinos, most especially those belonging to the marginalized sector. This requires upgrading of facilities and human resources, reducing public health threats with the disease-free zone initiatives, intensive implementation of disease prevention and control strategies and enhancing health promotion and disease surveillance. Aligned with the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) 2006 - 2110, this research is about the health seeking behavior and coping mechanisms of the poor for health care, focused especially on rabies, at the community level. The researchers were motivated to conduct this study due to the alarming cases of rabies nationwide, wherein 350 - 400 Filipinos die of rabies every year. Reported cases of rabies for Cagayan Valley Region in 2006 accounted for 8,197 victims, with 27 deaths. Of this number, Cagayan recorded 13, and Isabela, 12 deaths. The figures cited are based only on reported cases. There may be unreported cases on account of the ignorance of the people in the community, as well as the health workers themselves, on the nature and symptoms, mode of transmission, prevention and cure of rabies. Certain socio-cultural factors may also affect the extent of transmission, prevention, and treatment of cases. This study aimed to determine the current status of the Anti-Rabies Campaign in Cagayan and Isabela, and the extent which correct knowledge on the nature and symptoms, mode of transmission, treatment, prevention and control of rabies, as well as certain socio-cultural factors affect the campaign. The contributions of government agencies, non-government organizations, Local Government Units and the academe were also considered in determining the status of the Anti-Rabies Campaign. There is evidently a misconception on the nature and causative organism of rabies, but a dog's bite is the most common mode by which rabies is transmitted to a human victim. The respondents have this belief that rabies is caused by a venom or "zita" much like that of snakebite. Hence, the respondents would resort to the traditional cure provided by the quack doctor or the "mananandok" sucks the blood from the wound caused by a snakebite or he/she may use a carabao's horn or the 'tooth" of the lightning (a black, shiny stone taken from a tree that has been struck by lightning) to suck the venom by laying it on the wound. The 'mananandok" may also apply garlic on the wound because it is believed that garlic has an anti-microbial property. Generally, the respondents know some of the more common signs and symptoms of rabies but are not sure as to its onset. They are likewise familiar with the later signs and symptoms and they generally agree that rabies is fatal. They are familiar that a rabies victim usually manifests foaming at the mouth and drooling of saliva. depression, disorientation, aggression and violence. Although the respondents do not have an accurate knowledge on the causative organism of rabies, they all agree that the victim should be treated with an anti-rabies vaccine. However, they generally agree that the rabies victim should be brought to a hospital. For those who say that the rabies victim should be brought to a "mananandok", they claim that it is expensive to get the services of a doctor or that the hospital is far from the community. For those who would rather bring the victim to a doctor, they agree that the treatment of rabies by a doctor is more reliable than that received from a "mananandok," The tradition of eating dog's meat as a delicacy and as an antidote to rabies is slowly being abandoned in the selected communities, despite the respondents' claimed that cooked dog's meat is still being served as a dish in restaurants and eateries. However, confining or leashing dog is still not prevalently practiced, although the respondents generally agree that dogs should be immunized. The respondents are also generally undecided what to do with a rabid dog. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is the lead agency that is tasked to immunize dogs. However, the respondents are divided whether the vaccines to immunize the dogs are always made available by the agency. The extent which the agency performs its responsibility in the Anti-Rabies Campaign such as conducting information dissemination drives and the immunization of dogs, is not well sustained and not consistent in the respondents' communities, which can be gleaned from the variability of their responses. The Department of Health (DOH) is one of the agencies whose functions have been devolved, including some personnel attached to the Local Government Units. Because its devolved personnel attached to the Local Government Units are now the ones directly involved in the Anti-Rabies campaign, the role of the Department of Health has been limited to undertaking health education information campaign on rabies in the communities, setting up of surveillance systems, and monitoring the implementation of the Anti-Rabies Program. This has somehow affected its involvement in the Anti-Rabies Campaign. The selected communities are not sure of the role of the DOH in the Anti-Rabies Campaign. There is no involvement of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the Anti-Rabies Campaign in the selected communities, as gleaned from the responses of all the respondents of the study. There is limited involvement, if any, of local Governement Units (LGUs) in the Anti-Rabies Campaign, whether in the form of legislation or the provision of Anti-Rabies vaccines for dogs as well as for human victims. However, in one of the communities, the Local Government Unit has made available the services of a veterinarian for the immunization of dogs. The adoption of the Anti-Rabies Law of 2007 is very limited and there is no evidence of strict implementation such as sanctioning owners of dogs for keeping their pets stray, very limited effort to conduct information dissemination to dog owners of their responsibilities to have their dogs immunized, and to take care of the expenses for the treatment of the victims that have been bitten by their pets. Most of the involvements of some key officials are on interagency visits/CVAC at designated time/areas/centers to provide mass immunization and the like which in effect had not targeted the more pressing/realistic problems in the communities. The officials of the Department of Education (DEPED) and their teachers in the selected communities, to a limited extent, are involved in collaborative efforts with other government agencies and the Local Government Units in the Anti-Rabies Campaign. Likewise to a limited extent, the DepEd officials and their teachers have also integrated Responsible Pet Ownership (BPO) in elementary and high school subjects of their pupils/students. Considering the involvement of the various stakeholders in the Anti-Rabies Campaign in Cagayan and Isabela, it can be concluded that mush is desired to improve the implementation of the Anti-Rabies Program in terms of legislation, resource mobilization and information dissemination.

Publication Type
Research Project
Date
LocationLocation CodeAvailable FormatAvailability
Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Library RM281/ M33/ 2009 Abstract Print Format (Request Document)

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