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September 3, 2010 / Jeehan Fernandez – AHN News Writer

Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines (AHN) – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given a $10 million grant to the World Health Organization in an effort to prevent, and ultimately eliminate, human rabies cases by vaccinating dogs in three developing countries.

The five-year (2008-2013) project covers Visayas archipelago in the Philippines, United Republic of Tanzania in East Africa, and Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, where animal bite incidents and rabies cases are widespread.

The anti-rabies initiative aims to demonstrate the feasibility of controlling and eliminating human rabies in low-income countries through domestic dog vaccination, according to WHO.

In the Philippines, a $2.2 million (98.3 million pesos) grant for “Rabies-Free Visayas” is generating positive results toward full dog vaccination implemented by local government units to combat the spread of rabies.

Priority has been given to Western Visayas since the region has the highest number of patients with animal bites, according to WHO.