Rabies free Visayas project
In 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through WHO, provided support to three countries, Philippines included, in its program for rabies-free communities. Called "Rabies-free Visayas Islands Project", its goal is to declare the Visayas Region rabies-free zones at the end of project implementation.
The project is jointly implemented by the Department of Health (DOH), as lead proponent, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the local government units (LGUs).
The project's goals are to strengthen the laboratory-based rabies surveillance system in the country, and reduce the incidence of indigenously acquired human and animal rabies to zero in the Visayas Islands by 2013 year end.The main strategy involved is prevention of human rabies through the control and eventual elimination of canine rabies.
Activities include mass dog vaccinations, consultative meetings and planning workshops, advocacy meetings with LGUs, strengthening of rabies diagnostic laboratories, providing additional vaccines for post-exposure prophylaxis of animal bite patients, as well as promoting responsible pet ownership and surveillance.
The WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases received a grant of nearly US$ 10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the control and eventual elimination of rabies in the United Republic of Tanzania (East Africa), Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa) and the Visayas Archipelago (Philippines).