Bukidnon tops PH’s rabies death; political intervention sought

MALAYBALAY CITY – Bukidnon ranked No.1 not only in Northern Mindanao but also nation-wide in number of deaths due to animal bites last year that’s why political intervention and political will are needed to address it, Dr. Teresita Damasco, Bukidnon provincial health officer said Wednesday.
Damasco told members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan 13 people died of animal bites in the province last year, the biggest number reported among the provinces in the country.
She said local chief executives should put in funds, be at the forefront of the campaign, and initiate sanctions to those who don’t cooperate.

From January to June 2012, the Provincial Health Office reported a total of eight persons already who died due to animal bites, mostly dog bites.

From 2007 to June 2012, the PHO recorded a total of 64 persons who died of animal bites.

But Damasco noted that the provincial government’s P750,000 annual budget for human and animal vaccines for rabies cases is very minimal considering the scale of the problem.

She said the local government units in the province must demonstrate political will by providing sufficient budget for anti rabies campaign.

She said, at least, the P750,000 budget would be restored to P1 million, its previous appropriation. The amount is divided into Bukidnon’s five anti-rabies centers, namely: Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center, Bukidnon Provincial Hospital – Maramag, City Health Office – Malaybalay, City Health Office – Valencia City, and Municipal Health Office – Manolo Fortich.
About P150,000 of the budget was apportioned to the Provincial Veterinary Office for animal anti-rabies vaccines.
Even if reverted to P1 million, it still won’t be enough that’s why the towns and cities should also put it funds, she added.
Damasco said it also pays if the mayors themselves make public pronouncements to help the anti-rabies campaign. She said it might be more compelling if the public hear their local leaders, not just the health officials, campaign for animal vaccinations as prevention is always better than cure. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)