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State govt pumps in RM10.14 mln to end rabies threat in Sarawak
Posted on : 17 Oct 2020  Source of News: https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/10/17/state-govt-pumps-in-rm10-14-mln-to-end-rabies-threat-in-sarawak/
 

A dog owner holds his pet still as a DVSS staff member administers the rabies vaccination. Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The state government has approved an allocation of RM10.14 million this year under the Plan of Action For Rabies Control And Eradication Programme 2020 to end the rabies menace.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas pointed out that it was important to end rabies, as since the outbreak began in Sarawak in July 2017, 24 people have died.

He said the government has always supported the rabies control programme including the provision of budgets for free vaccination programmes and also house to house vaccinations for dogs.

Aside from that, the Health Ordinance 1999, licensing by law and control of movements of dogs has helped reduce the number of rabies positive cases, he said.

“The State government is serious in eliminating rabies and have provided the required funding, personnel and logistics to combat this disease. The government considers rabies control and elimination as top priority and has placed it under the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for effective implementation and monitoring,” he said in a text of speech read by Ministry of Local Government and Housing Permanent Secretary Datu Antonio Kahti Galis at the World Rabies Day 2020 event today.

Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, added that the integrated and collaborative rabies control programme resulted in a more effective rabies control programme co-ordination and facilitation mechanism among government agencies, increasing its capacity to better manage and implement rabies control as well as heightened community awareness.

The heightened community awareness means the people know how to recognise and respond to the threat of rabies, improved case management through cross-sectoral rapid response and integrated bite case management and improved mass dog rabies vaccination achieving more than 70 per cent coverage of the dog population, he said.

At the same time, Uggah who is also Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred), said for the first time in history, the world has a goal to eliminate human rabies-related deaths by 2030. Together for the first time, international health organisations are united against rabies, with the data and information, tools and strategies to end the suffering inflicted by rabies.

In February 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) met in Geneva and launched the End Rabies Now campaign, which proposed a goal of zero human rabies death by 2030, he said.

“As for Sarawak, we’re aiming for zero rabies in humans in 2021 and zero rabies in dogs by 2025. The Global framework provides a coordinated approach and vision for the global elimination of dog-mediated rabies,” said Uggah.

Speaking on the World Rabies Day, he said that it is celebrated on Sept 28 annually to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this terrifying disease.

He said it serves as an opportunity to reflect on efforts to control this deadly disease and also to remind everyone that the fight against rabies was not yet over.

“Each and every one of you here can help make this a reality, by vaccinating your pets and collaborating with the doctors, veterinarians, policy makers, educators, community workers, SSPCA (Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and others in your community and to raise awareness on rabies prevention and control. Many people may not know much about rabies and what to do when someone is bitten by a dog or other animal,” he said.

Some may not know how to recognise the signs of rabies in a dog or person, and in some communities, they believe rabies is caused by a curse or spell, he added.

The event themed “End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate” was held at the Kuching South City Council community hall.

It was organised by Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS), in collaboration with Kota Samarahan District Council (MPKS), North City Commission (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS), Padawan Municipal Council (PMC), Sarawak Public Communications Unit (UKAS) and Local Government and Housing Ministry.

Present were MPKS chairman Dato Peter Minos, MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, DBKU Datuk Bandar Datu Junaidi Reduan, PMC deputy chairman Cr Dato’ Ahmad Dato Seri Ibrahim, DVSS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud and Mandred principal assistant secretary Dr Gluma Saban.