An example of the use of volunteers in dog vaccination campaigns

In 2007 the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Project (Philippines) was launched with the main objective of implementing province-wide mass dog vaccination campaigns.

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Training of volunteers in Bohol, the Philippines

Preliminary budget evaluations indicated the need to mobilize substantial funds to support, amongst other items, salaries, meals and transport costs for vaccinators. To overcome these financial difficulties, the Province of Bohol established a village-based Rabies Task Force (locally called “Bantay Rabies sa Barangay” or BRB) composed of 8 trained volunteers in every village. A total of 8,872 volunteers in the 47 municipalities and one city of the province were mobilized. The primary objective of the Task Force is to enable local communities to design, implement, and manage their own rabies control programmes. Specifically, the BRBs have maintained a master list of registered dogs and their owners, collected registration fees, implemented dog population control measures and control of dog movements, assisted in dog vaccination activities and management of exposures, conducted rabies surveillance, and carried out community awareness campaigns. By 2009, the province had reduced their dog population by 24% (from 100,752 to 76,407 dogs), registered 53,692 dogs and vaccinated 53,739 (70%) dogs, and castrated 34.5% of male dogs.

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Volunteers in Bohol in the Phillipines register the vaccination of village dogs

Dog removal operations were carried out in compliance with the Philippines Anti-Rabies Act 2007 and they involved the selective, humane elimination of captured unowned dogs, unmanageable dogs voluntarily brought by their owners and dogs caught in public areas and not claimed within 3 days. A recent community awareness survey revealed that >94% of local people had heard about rabies; >61% had knowledge about rabies transmission; and >82% was aware of the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Project. The use of community volunteers has been a critical factor in the success of local rabies control programmes in the Philippines. Volunteers are well-known and respected by their neighbors, they have a thorough knowledge of the local settings, particularly remote and difficult-to-reach areas, and are motivated to serve their own communities.
For more information on this case study, read Lapiz et al 2012 here.

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After administering prophylactics to reduce the risk of infection, the volunteers help in the capture of dogs for vaccination and in the application of devices for identifying vaccinated dogs

Photos courtesy of the Provincial Veterinarians of Bohol.

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