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Zamboanga CHO drafts guidelines for Rat for Rice Program

The Zamboanga City Health Office (CHO) has drafted the guidelines for the implementation of the Rat for Rice Program aimed at reducing if not totally eradicating leptospirosis, a bacterial infection from urine of animals mostly rats in flood waters.

This was after Mayor John Dalipe has ordered the agency to come up with the guidelines.

City Health Officer Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite presented the guidelines for discussion and modification during the recent meeting of the Local Health Board presided over by Dalipe.

Initially, the Rat for Rice Program will only be implemented in pilot barangays with the greatest number of leptospirosis cases during the recent flooding like Tumaga, Guiwan, Tetuan, Tugbungan, Pasonanca, and Ayala.

Under the proposed guidelines patterned after Quezon City and Marikina City, the program is implemented only during rainy season within a period of three days only, otherwise it will open to people breeding rats.

The program is exclusive only for residents of Zamboanga City; senior citizens and children are not allowed to submit the rats to the barangay; the rats must be caught using the mouse trap of the glue board; caught rats must be brought or submitted to the barangay for counting, verification and immediate disposal at the sanitary land fill in Salaan or a designated area within the barangay.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) will download the rice to the participating barangays, which, in turn, will release the rice to the participating residents.

Last February, Dalipe himself broached the Rat for Rice Program when the city’s leptospirosis cases shot up after the series of flooding.

It was reported that from the period Oct. 27 to Nov. 16 last year, Zamboanga City had registered 97 leptospirosis patients, 12 of them with comorbidities died.

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