Through the initiative of Mayor John Dalipe, the City Health Office recently set into motion the Rat for Rice Program, a strategy to help curb leptospirosis incidences in the city.
The program was launched April 23 and will run until April 29, 2023 in 7 barangays where high cases of leptospirosis were recorded during the year – Tumaga, Guiwan, Pasonanca, Mampang, Tetuan, Tugbungan and Ayala.
Based on the guidelines, 1 rat (whole body to include tail) dead or alive is equivalent to a kilo of rice. Caught rats will be brought to the barangay designated area for counting from 8am to 3pm.
Rats must be caught preferable using mouse trap, sticky glue board and the like and only the brown rat also known as common rat, street rat, sewer rat and wharf rat are accepted.
Only residents of the identified barangays are qualified to participate in the program, however, senior citizens and minors are not allowed to submit or bring rats to the designated area in the barangay.
As additional guidelines, rats (dead or alive) brought for submission to the barangay designated area must be placed in sacks or any durable container with cover. Participants are encouraged to wear personal protective equipment such as gloes when handling.
The concerned barangays are responsible for the release of rice and the participants are encouraged to bring their own container for the rice.
Mayor Dalipe broached the idea of implementing the Rat for Rice program early this year when the city recorded high incidence of leptospirosis, a disease caused by the Leptospira spirochetes bacteria that is spread through rat urine.
The city recorded a total of 166 leptospirosis cases last 2022 with 27 deaths which is 768% higher compared to the same period in 2021. Sixty-nine or 42% were recorded on morbidity week 45 after the city was hit by Typhoon Paeng which caused flooding to some barangays.
As of March 4, 2023 a total of 57 cases were reported with 7 deaths. Most cases were reported within 2 weeks after the March 11 and 31 flooding, according to the CHO. (Sheila Covarrubias)