SIBU: The Sibu Rabies Control Team will intensify efforts in the fight against rabies to ensure the division remains a buffer zone for the deadly disease, says Sibu Resident Charles Siaw.
He explained that free anti-rabies vaccination programmes had been implemented in the division to immunise the canines against rabies.
“Phase three of the free vaccination programme from Sept 19 till Nov 2 target to vaccinate 10,000 dogs in this division.
“The vaccination programme will cover several areas such as Kanowit district, Sibu Jaya township, Sibu town and Selangau district. So far, we have vaccinated 7,481 dogs and will continue with the exercise.
“At the moment, Sibu has no case of rabies either in dogs or humans. We are trying to make Sibu the buffer zone so that rabies will not spread into the central zone. So, we will be intensifying our efforts because we want to make Sibu free from rabies,” Siaw told reporters after launching an awareness campaign on “Say no to Rabies” in Sibu Town Square Phase two on Saturday night.
The awareness campaign was organised to empower the public with knowledge on rabies and its prevention.
As part of the awareness campaign, free car stickers were distributed to the public.
These stickers contained hotlines of the three councils- Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) – 084 310808 or 013 807 7964; Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) – 084 336077 and Kanowit District Council (KDC) – 084 752 093.
Siaw said the public can call these numbers to complain on strays.
He mentioned that more programmes would be organised to further raise the level of awareness among members of public on rabies.
The Resident appealed to people in Sibu Division not to rely solely on the initiatives of the government departments in the fight against rabies.
He highlighted that the fight against rabies could only be won through concerted efforts of the government and people.
“The public must realise that owning a pet comes with certain responsibilities. You need to take good care of your pets. Strays found in the streets were once pets in someone’s house.
“As a responsible dog owner, you must also ensure that your dog is vaccinated against diseases,” he pointed out.
He further reminded pet owners to keep their canines in their house compound and ensure the dogs are leashed when walking them.
During the function, Dr Stephen Gabriel from Veterinary Services Department Sarawak and Dr Teh Jo Hun from Sibu Divisional Health Office gave talks on awareness and preventive measures on rabies.
Among those present were Ministry of Local Government and Housing head of Public Health Dr Cheong Yaw Liang, Kanowit District officer Kathreen Lalai and Sibu District Office representative Zulkarnain Ismail and local community leaders Temenggong Stanley Geramong and Pemanca James Semilan.