Lack of public cooperation hampering efforts to curb the spread of rabies — Penguang

A dog being administered anti-rabies vaccine during a vaccination programme. - filephoto DayakDaily.com

KUCHING, August 21: Uncooperative pet lovers and victims of dog attacks who take things lightly are making it difficult for the government to curb the spread of the deadly rabies, said Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.

He stressed that everyone, especially those living in rabies-infested areas, must give their fullest cooperation in order to stop the disease that has claimed 11 lives and left one with severe neurological problems.

Penguang said his ministry had done everything possible to contain the spread of rabies but lamented that there were many people who “remained uncooperative by not vaccinating their pet dogs and still letting them to roam”.

He told DayakDaily today that some people also take it lightly even when they were bitten by dogs.

“We have heard that many of the victims actually died because they did not seek immediate medical treatment after they were bitten by dogs. And this, unfortunately, has caused deaths,” he said.

Currently, 33 places in Serian, Kota Samarahan, Kuching, Sri Aman and Sarikei Divisions have been declared as rabies-outbreak areas.

On a related issue, Penguang advised Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii to stop blaming the state government and to do more to fight rabies.

“Please stop acting like an opposition. You are now part of the federal government. So secure as much funds as possible to assist Sarawak in all areas, especially in terms of funding for public health, local councils and environment,” he said.

On Aug 18, Dr Yii criticised the Sarawak government for its lack of transparency and urgency in fighting rabies. He even accused the government of lack of proper methodology and procedures to curb the disease.

To this, Penguang told Dr Yii to understand and know what the state government had been doing to curb the spread of the disease.

“The fact that he (Dr Yii) did now even know what the local councils are doing is amazing, to say the least. I would like to remind him that my ministry has been working tirelessly with other related agencies to contain the disease from spreading to other divisions, such as Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

“In Miri, we even went further by engaging with the local private veterinarians to assist us to vaccinate stray dogs,” he revealed. — DayakDaily