THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) is aiming for a rabies-free Philippines over the next decade and has called on all owners to have their pets vaccinated. In a statement on Tuesday, DoH Secretary Francisco H. Duque III said, “Prevention is key in eliminating the rabies disease. 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans are from dogs. Be a responsible pet owner and vaccinate your pets. This is the most cost-effective strategy to prevent rabies.” DoH noted that 59,000 deaths are attributed to rabies globally, with the Philippines having at least 200 a year. The DoH just launched its anti-rabies campaign in line with March being Rabies Awareness month. The program will be assisted by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior and Local Government, local government units, and the private sector. Mr. Duque said, “We have made great strides in eliminating rabies particularly in the Visayas region where a number of provinces were declared rabies-free. Let us continue this positive trend and work together towards completely eradicating this deadly disease. It is my hope to declare Philippines a rabies-free country by 2030.” — Gillian M. Cortez