Rabies forecasting tool awarded best presentation in Asia-Pacific conference

The RabCast, a forecasting tool for rabies supported by the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research Development (DOST-PCHRD), won first place for abstract presentation and second place for research poster presentation at the 53rd Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health Conference 2022 held last 22-23 September 2022.

The winning abstract presentation entitled, “Effect of COVID-19, Vaccination Ratio, and Human Population on the Reported Canine Rabies Cases in Davao City, Philippines: A Panel Regression Analysis,” and research poster entitled, “Optimal Control Theory Applied to a Rabies Epidemic Model with Time-Dependent Vaccination in Davao City, Philippines,” highlighted findings of the RabCast project implemented by the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Mindanao) which aim to contribute in the formulation of proactive strategies for rabies control in Davao City by providing relevant data on the incidence of the disease.

Rabies is considered by the Department of Health (DOH) as a significant public health concern Through the RabCast forecasting tool, authorities have access to information on the transmission pattern of rabies, role of feline sources on rabies transmission, and impacts of various rabies drivers on the spread of the disease.

“RabCast addresses the need for data as a basis for effective and efficient rabies control programs,” said Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of the DOST-PCHRD. “Being the first of its kind in the country, we hope that the success of the project can be expanded across the regions until we realize our goal of a rabies-free Philippines,” he added, expressing his vision for the project in the future.

To enable more efficient management and analysis of data, the team is now undertaking the development of the RabDash DC, a rabies data analytics dashboard in support of the RabCast. The dashboard will display genome informatics, model predictions, and data analytics to strengthen rabies control programs and strategies of the Davao City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO). The RabDash DC is expected to be developed by November 2023. (DOST-PCHRD)