The integration of rabies prevention into the Philippines national curriculum is the result of a 2-year collaboration between the Department of Education and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). GARC had piloted the education initiative in Ilocos Norte, a province which has now been free from human rabies for over five years. Results of the pre-and post-test exams in Ilocos Norte showed that there was a general increase in knowledge in rabies, animal bite prevention, bite management and responsible pet ownership among Grades 1 to 6 students after 5 months of lessons. There was also a large decrease in the proportion of students who had a history of animal bites after 6 months of using the manual. Following the success of the programme, a decision was made to integrate lessons about rabies and animal bite prevention, bite management and responsible pet ownership. Different learning materials were developed such as videos, storybooks, activity books, and a coloring book to present information in different formats. Using results of the pilot, GARC made the case to the Department of Education and the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (NRPCC) to integrate rabies prevention and responsible pet ownership education into the country’s national educational system, in all 46,847 schools across the country.
A total of 78 lesson plans were developed for kindergarten and eight different subjects, including health, English, and Filipino. Expert teachers, school heads and health supervisors from different parts of the country were involved in creating the content and plans for the rabies lessons. Through the Department of Education’s online learning portal, the lesson plans will be used in schools from the 2019-2020 school year. This is supported by train the trainer sessions across the country, covering rabies and responsible pet ownership.
Under the Anti Rabies Act of 2007 and as part of the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program, this initiative was made possible through the leadership of the Department of Education (School Health Division-Bureau of Learner Support Services, with support from Bureau of Curriculum Development, Bureau of Learning Delivery, Bureau of Learning Resources and External Partnership Services) with technical support from the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture, and additional funding support from the UBS Optimus Foundation and FOUR PAWS International.