The Philippines is one of the developing countries highly affected by rabies. Dog vaccination campaigns implemented through collaborative effort between the government and NGOs have played an important role in successfully reducing the burden of disease within the country. Nevertheless, rabies vaccination of the domestic animal population requires continuous commitment not only from governments and NGOs, but also from local communities that are directly affected by such efforts. To create such long-term sustained programs, the introduction of affordable dog vaccination and registration fees is essential and has been shown to be an important strategy in Bohol, Philippines. The aim of this study, therefore, was to estimate the average amount of money that individuals were willing to pay for dog vaccination and registration in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. This study also investigated some of the determinants of individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP).
A cross-sectional questionnaire was administered to 300 households in 17 municipalities (out of a total of 21) selected through a multi-stage cluster survey technique. At the time of the survey, Ilocos Norte had a population of approximately 568,017 and was predominantly rural. The Contingent Valuation Method was used to elicit WTP for dog rabies vaccination and registration. A ‘bidding game’ elicitation strategy that aims to find the maximum amount of money individuals were willing to pay was also employed. Data were collected using paper-based questionnaires. Linear regression was used to examine factors influencing participants’ WTP for dog rabies vaccination and registration.
On average, Ilocos Norte residents were willing to pay 69.65 Philippine Pesos (PHP) (equivalent to 1.67 USD in 2012) for dog vaccination and 29.13PHP (0.70 USD) for dog registration. Eighty-six per cent of respondents were willing to pay the stated amount to vaccinate each of their dogs, annually. This study also found that WTP was influenced by demographic and knowledge factors. Among these, we found that age, income, participants’ willingness to commit to pay each year, municipality of residency, knowledge of the signs of rabies in dogs, and number of dogs owed significantly predicted WTP.
Rabies is one of the most fatal viral diseases mostly transmitted through a bite of an infected mammal. In many parts of Africa and Asia, rabid dogs are the main transmitters of the disease to humans. In the Philippines, government enforced dog registration laws and government/NGO sponsored mass dog vaccination campaigns have so far been the cornerstone in successfully reducing the burden of disease in parts of the country. To further enhance the continuation of such programs, however, an introduction of affordable dog vaccination and registration fees to the public is vital and have shown to be an important strategy in other parts of the country. Our main objective here was to systematically assess how much money individuals were willing to pay for dog vaccination and registration in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. We also assessed whether the amount individuals were willing to pay was influenced by their demographic and knowledge characteristics. We conducted a cross-sectional study using a combination of cluster sampling, random sampling, and convenience sampling methods to identify study participants. We employed a specific elicitation strategy (bidding game) to elicit how much individual were willing to pay for such services. Our results indicate that Ilocos Norte residents, on average, were willing to pay 69.65 PHP (1.67 USD) for dog vaccination and 29.13 PHP (0.70 USD) for dog registration. The majority (86%) of respondents were willing to pay the stated amount to vaccinate each of their dogs, annually. We also found that willingness to pay was influences by age, income, municipality of residency, people’s willingness to commit to pay each year, number of dogs owned, and knowledge regarding rabies signs in dogs. This findings give policy makers some indication of how much people were willing to contribute financially towards dog vaccination and registration in particular and towards rabies elimination from Ilocos Norte, in general. Socio-economic and demographic factors, however, may need to be considered prior to the introduction of such fees to the public.