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Social Issues – Rabies is a terrifying disease that is successfully controlled in most industrialised nations, but, without the corresponding infrastructure, developing nations have struggled to do the same. Rabies still kills 70,000 people every year with 95% of the deaths being reported in Africa and Asia.
Fear of the disease, which is usually harboured in dog populations, leads to the inhumane and indiscriminate slaughter of millions of dogs. Rabies perpetuates poverty in those nations because the cost of post-exposure treatment is often several times the average household monthly income. Rabies brings death, poverty, and violence. But there is hope…
A rabies control project in Bohol, Philippines has recently been awarded the Galing Pook, a national award for excellence in community projects. The Bohol Rabies Elimination and Prevention project transformed rabies control from an initiative run by 124 government employees to a community led movement that now has over 15,000 volunteers and 124 government employees.
Rabies deaths on the island went from an average of 10 per year to zero in 2010,and there have been some unexpected benefits. A reduction in the number of stray dogs on the roads has led to fewer road traffic accidents. Rabies prevention on the island saves lives and produces real cost savings to primary healthcare provision. Rabies can be controlled and it pays to do so.
You can read more about community led rabies control here.
Donate to the project here.
Compiled by Liz D.