"Fighting Rabies with Knowledge"

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in News

Fighting Rabies with Knowledge: School-based Information and Education Campaigns for Elementary and High School Students
Written by: DT Cutler and KS Sigue
Within the urbanized streets of Davao City, some dogs carry a lethal viral disease called“rabies.” The virus attacks the host’s nervous system, inducing a strong feeling of anxiety, agitation, a fear of water, and then death. Countries in Asia and Africa are still very susceptible to rabies. Fortunately, rabies can be prevented through human and animal vaccination.
Government institutions like the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program (NRPCP), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Education (DepEd) are combating rabies spread through information and education campaigns (IEC) in schools. In Davao City, the City Veterinarian's Office (Davao CVO) implemented the Intensified Rabies Control Program (IRCP) with the goal of freeing the city of rabies by 2022. However, there is still an increasing trend in the number of cases reported in the city: 12 cases in 2015, 15 in 2016, 21 in 2017, 51 in 2018, and 29 in 2019, with children below the age of 15 being the most likely victims. This can be attributed to their excitability and limited knowledge of dogs and rabies.
One key factor in addressing this issue is improving the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of children regarding rabies. Davao CVO partnered with various educational institutions to host IEC for rabies. The journal article entitled “School-based Information and Education Campaign (IEC) Program and Knowledge Gain of Student Participants on Rabies in a Private School in Davao City, Philippines” by Zython Paul T. Lachica, Joanna Danielle G. Ang, Pam Danica L. Dy, Cheszka Ysabelle T. Arrieta, Angeline R. Ong, May Anne E. Mata, and Pedro A. Alviola IV published in the Philippine Journal of Science assesses the rabies-related knowledge of 367 elementary and high school students who participated in the IEC by the Davao CVO. To do this, the study provided three (3) different tests: one before the IEC was conducted, one after the IEC is finished, and the final one a month after to see if the information had been retained.
The study found that the students were receptive to the information given as their scores improved after the IEC was conducted. However, it also showed overall lower scores during the retention test as around 58% scored lower a month after the IEC. This shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a negative. It just means that lessons and knowledge on rabies should be reiterated through text messaging and integrating the discussion on rabies prevention in core subjects such as Science and Health, Makabayan (Civics, Social Studies, Geography, and History), Filipino, English, and Mathematics. This study can help the Davao CVO in formulating new tactics for *students to retain their knowledge to achieve rabies-free Davao City in 2022.
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