KUCHING, August 29: Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) believes the federal government is now supportive of the idea of engaging international organisation Mission Rabies to enter Sarawak to help curb the rabies outbreak.
Its chairperson, Rebecca D’Cruz, admitted that when the outbreak of the deadly disease started in April last year, the federal government was not keen to bring in Mission Rabies as it was confident of handling the situation itself.
“However, there has been a change in its position since a couple of months ago when the death toll due to rabies was on the rise,” D’Cruz told DayakDaily in a phone interview today.
She disclosed that SSPCA had been invited to attend a meeting of the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) in Kuala Lumpur.
“This Friday, (SSPCA president Datin) Donna (Wee) will be attending the meeting, and she will try to convince the federal government to allow Mission Rabies to come in,” said D’Cruz.
She added there were several procedures for foreign veterinarians to comply with before they could conduct and administer medical services here.
“Donna will be discussing with NADMA to see what can be done to help. She is going to suggest bringing in Mission Rabies since we don’t enough manpower or capability to deal with it,” said D’Cruz, explaining that SSPCA did not have the authority to engage Mission Rabies on its own. Otherwise, it would have done so earlier, she said.
In 2015, SSPCA hosted the ‘Asia for Animals Conference’, and since then, it had kept in touch with Mission Rabies.
In view of the fact that Sarawak shares a long border with Kalimantan and that Kalimantan has rabies cases too, SSPCA had, in 2016, the foresight to hold the “Animal Population Management” workshop to specifically make preparations against rabies in Sarawak.
“This was all before the outbreak, and it was then just periodical exercise with no immediate urgency. Unfortunately, we had an outbreak in 2017, and from the previous workshop, we have a little bit of information on how to deal with it.
“So we have been working according to protocol, where the first step is to do mass vaccination of all dogs, and we will continue to do it,” assured D’Cruz. — DayakDaily