HSI has been active in the Philippines since 2008, training 70-75 veterinarians each year in Cebu City to support local sterilization and vaccination efforts. In 2017, we teamed up with the national government to prevent communicable diseases like rabies.
HSI’s partnership with the Cebu City government helped pave the way for many others, such as Siquijor, Bohol, Tacloban, Camiguin. To date, we have conducted over 22,000 surgeries and 41,000 vaccinations through this program.
Early on, we discovered that most local officials resorted to inhumane practices for animal control, such as shooting or poisoning, due to a lack of alternatives. Few local vets had the surgical skills to perform spay/neuter and while there was interest in learning, there was little opportunity.
Working with Southwestern University and the Philippine Animal Hospital Association, HSI veterinarians lead 5-15 day-long spay/neuter surgical training workshops to help participants improve their techniques, and reduce the amount of time the surgeries take. We later follow up to understand what the impact on communities has been.
Scientific and humane approach to eliminate rabies
Mass dog vaccinations reduce the threat of rabies, which is prevalent on most islands.
In 2016, HSI did a pilot project in Payatas, which is the most densely populated area of Quezon City (a part of Metro Manila), characterized by densely populated slums and the largest open dumping ground in the Philippines. We used a mobile application to monitor vaccinations done in the area and calculate outputs. This pilot was successful and has led to more government partnerships, along with requests for training on using the application and planning vaccination drives. More provinces are being identified with help from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
Rescuing animals affected by natural disasters
On a related note, the Philippines is vulnerable to many natural disasters and the HSI team based there has responded to a number of typhoons since 2009.
The team helps rescue stranded companion and other animals, treats them, provides shelter and food and reunites them with their owners once the threat has abated.