By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Oct 26: About 65 per cent of dogs have been vaccinated, as Sarawak government continues to push for a rabies-free state by 2025.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the initial target was 70 per cent, although his personal key performance index (KPI) to the state Veterinary Services Department was at least 95 per cent.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), we have to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the dogs to be rabies-free.
“If we can vaccinate dogs up to 100 per cent then we can be sure that Sarawak is rabies-free by 2025,” he said at the launch of the state-level World Rabies Day at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) here, today.
Uggah, who is the chairman of the State Disaster Management Committee, said rabies was 100 per cent preventable through prompt and proper medical care.
He added that since the rabies outbreak in Sarawak in June 2017, about 20 fatalities had been recorded out of 21 cases. One individual is in critical condition.
“The number of deaths in 2017 is six. In 2018, it was 10 and this year, four cases were recorded. We hope to reduce this number, despite almost 400 dog bites recorded every month.
“Sarawak wants to make sure that there are no human deaths by 2021, if not by 2020,” he continued.
To make Sarawak rabies-free by 2025, the state needs collaboration from everyone, he said.
“I am glad we have the microchip and we have the vaccine, so there is no excuse. If you see that your dogs or cats look sick, please contact the veterinary department to check whether they are a carrier or otherwise,” he advised.
Uggah said authorities will embark on a special operation beginning March 1, next year, as the state intensifies its fight against rabies.
“We are mobilising the military, the police, the local councils, the health and veterinary department and other agencies to help.
“There will be a sweeping programme from house to house and along the road. This is to make sure dogs and cats are vaccinated and stray dogs removed.
“This is one way to reduce the carrier, as well as to increase the number of dogs vaccinated,” he continued.
Uggah revealed that the cost of vaccination per dog is RM2 and some 150,000 dog and 10,000 cats have been vaccinated. The federal government has spent RM9 million for the operations.
“In the long term, we will impose the law to improve the management of pets,” he said. — DayakDaily