The establishment of community funds to support dog rabies control programmes in Bohol, Philippines

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Collection of registration fees in Bohol

At the national level, the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program, focusing on the elimination of human rabies through dog vaccination, is strongly supported by a National Rabies Law and a Provincial Local Ordinance. For such a programme to be successful and sustainable however, an understanding of the need for the programme, acceptance and strong commitment by local communities are also essential. Project implementation posed initial challenges to both the provincial government and local communities because of the size of the area to be covered, hence the high operational costs (estimated to be USD 460,000 for 4 years). These financial constraints were addressed as follows. First, community volunteers (so-called village-based rabies watchers) were recruited to support many project activities (see case study). Second, different stakeholders contributed to mobilization of funds, including local and national governments and partner non-governmental organizations. Third, at the community level, counterpart funds were generated through the collection of dog registration fees, based on the National Rabies Law and the Provincial Local Ordinance. A shared scheme was adopted, by which the villages could retain 50% of the collected registration fees to support their operational costs, while the remaining 50% was shared between provincial and municipal government units for purchase of essential items for the programme. Although the main purpose of the registration fee is to regulate dog keeping practices at the household level, fees collected have substantially contributed towards operational costs, since registered dogs are entitled to free rabies vaccination, dog marking devices and a registration card. Within 2 years, a total of USD 105,740 had been generated through the community fund scheme. For more information read Lapiz et al 2012 here.

Photo courtesy of the Provincial Veterinarians of Bohol.

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