In stating this, Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud also said the state had exhibited success in managing the situation through not only its anti-rabies vaccination programme, but also through awareness exercises, running surveillance over the rabies-affected areas, and implementing preventive measures.
“This year, we are organising many vaccination campaigns throughout Sarawak.
“Our free-for-all anti-rabies vaccination programme is still on-going to this day, and have been very well received from the start,” he said during a press conference on the launch of the ‘Rabies in Borneo 2023 Conference’ at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.
Minister for Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and his deputy minister Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail were also present.
Organised by Place Borneo and supported by the state government, the conference on rabies would be taking place at Imperial Hotel Kuching from Oct 31 until Nov 1.
Adding on, Dr Adrian said the focus would be on constantly educating the public about rabies and creating awareness amongst local communities through the mass media.
“What we want everyone to know is that rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease.
“Vaccinating our dogs is the most cost-effective way to prevent rabies infection in people.”
He also cited statistics of deaths related to rabies across many Asian countries.
“In the Philippines, there were 55 human deaths due to rabies in February alone.
“In Vietnam, it is found that rabies kills more than 70 people each year. In Bangkok (Thailand), it was reported recently that 74 people had been infected with rabies in February this year.
“In this regard, it takes a collective effort from all stakeholders, including the community itself, to ensure that we find the best ways to tackle any rabies outbreak. DVS aims for Sarawak to be rabies-free by 2025,” he said.
On the conference, Dr Adrian said the first edition last year brought together international and local experts and practitioners, who contributed their input towards creating a platform on knowledge transfer and exchange regarding the subject of rabies.
“This year, we hope to continue this and further some of the topics explored, with updated information from the conference speakers and our counterparts.
“It is our hope that the second edition of this conference would help us gather the latest information and find improved solutions set to benefit our community and state, as well as for it to grow into an internationally-recognised conference,” he said.
Dr Adrian also took the opportunity to announce a corporate social responsibility programme run as a pre-conference activity, this Saturday.
“The ‘Rami Gawia Semeba’ will take place at Kampung Semeba multipurpose hall this May 20, running from 9am to 4pm.
“It will include free rabies vaccination, microchipping and licensing of pets, educational talks and other pre-Gawai activities with the community. We encourage everyone to come and join us in celebrating Gawai and at the same time, help out in the fight to eradicate rabies,” he said.