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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Intention of dog owners to participate in rabies control measures in Flores Island, Indonesia

Ewaldus Wera, Monique C M Mourits, Henk Hogeveen
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2016 April 1, 126: 138-50
26898353
The success of a rabies control strategy depends on the commitment and collaboration of dog owners. In this study the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) was used to identify the factors, which are associated with the intention of dog owners to participate in rabies control measures in the Manggarai and Sikka regencies of Flores Island, Indonesia. Questionnaires were administered to 450 dog owners from 44 randomly selected villages in the two regencies. Ninety-six percent of the dog owners intended to participate in a free-of-charge vaccination campaign. The intention decreased to 24% when dog owners were asked to pay a vaccination fee equal to the market price of the vaccine (Rp 18.000 per dose=US$2). Approximately 81% of the dog owners intended to keep their dogs inside their house or to leash them day and night during a period of at least three months in case of an incidence of rabies in the dog population within their village. Only 40% intended to cull their dogs in case of a rabies incident within their village. Using multivariable logistic regression analysis, the attitude item 'vaccinating dogs reduces rabies cases in humans', and the perceived behavioural control items 'availability of time' and 'ability to confine dogs' were shown to be significantly associated with the intention to participate in a free-of-charge vaccination campaign. The attitude item 'culling dogs reduces rabies cases in humans' was significantly associated with the intention to participate in a culling measure. The attitude item 'leashing of dogs reduces human rabies cases' and perceived behavioural controls 'availability of time' and 'money to buy a leash' were associated with the intention to leash dogs during a rabies outbreak. As the attitude variables were often significantly associated with intention to participate in a rabies control measure, an educational rabies campaign focusing on the benefit of rabies control measures is expected to increase the intention of dog owners to participate in future rabies control measures. The significant association between perceived behavioural controls and intention to participate points to other relevant policy interventions. Providing dog owners with a skill to confine dogs and creating a subsidy program for the vaccine and leash costs, by involving non-governmental organisations or charitable organisations, may be useful policy interventions. Moreover appropriate time management, such as implementing vaccination campaigns during the weekend, could increase the intention to participate in vaccination campaigns, by relaxing the constraints on the availability of dog owners' time.

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