KUCHING, Oct 17: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas appeals for public cooperation to end and eliminate the rabies disease throughout the state.
According to Uggah, a total of 24 lives had been needlessly lost to rabies throughout the state since 2017 due to a lack of awareness on the disease.
“I would like to appeal to all, including the general public to continue to cooperate and support the government initiatives and programmes in efforts to prevent, control and eliminate rabies in our dog population and hence prevent rabies transmission to humans,” he said during the World Rabies Day 2020 celebration held at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Community Hall, today.
Uggah’s text of speech was read by permanent secretary of Ministry of Local Government and Housing Datu Antonio Kahti Galis, who represented him at the event.
“It is my sincere hope that all the rabies control measures now being implemented will bear positive results in the coming years and that Sarawak can once again be considered as a rabies-free state and all the benefits and wellness associated with it,” he added.
He noted that the State government was serious in eliminating rabies and has provided the required funding, personnel and logistics to combat this disease with the aim to be “Zero Rabies in Human by 2021 and Zero Rabies in dog by 2025”.
He asserted that the State government supports the rabies control programme, including the provision of budgets that are required for rabies elimination and has approved an allocation amounting to RM10.14 million this year under the “Plan of Action For Rabies Control And Eradication Programme 2020.
“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.
He disclosed this integrated and collaborative rabies control programme had resulted in a more effective coordination and facilitation mechanism among government agencies, increased capacity to better manage and implement rabies control, heightened community awareness on how to recognise and respond to the threat of rabies.
“This includes 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 added.
At the same time, he pointed out that the Plan of Action for Rabies Control and Elimination developed during a workshop in Dec 2019 recommended the enhancement and strengthening of the existing rabies control measures, namely mass vaccination of dogs to achieve and maintain 70 per cent vaccination coverage.
Other recommendations are targeted removal of free roaming dogs and strays, carrying out awareness programmes, dog registration including licensing, conduct of active and passive surveillances as well as data collection and dissemination.
“The workshop also recommended the creation of an immune belt along the 1200-km Sarawak and Kalimantan border to curb movements of dogs and the deployment of 32 Immune Belt Enforcement Teams to cover the 978 villages, estates and government outposts within the immune belt.
“These teams will carry out surveillance and will be trained to vaccinate dogs in this immune belt,” he said. –DayakDaily.