Medical association tasks govt on disease surveillance

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Monkeypox: Disease that made headlines in Nigeria
Monkeypox: Disease that made headlines in Nigeria

By Felicia Imohimi

In order to forestall the outbreak of diseases in the country, the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has urged government at all levels to beef up veterinary extension services, surveillance and public health service delivery.

Dr Godwin Abonyi, President of the association, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the ongoing association’s annual summit in Abuja on Friday.

He however, decried the rate of outbreak of zoonotic diseases such as Lassa Fever, Monkey Pox, brucellosis, rabies, and Avian Influenza, blaming it on poor surveillance system.

He noted that about 75 per cent of emerging and infectious diseases originated from animals, adding that beefing up surveillance and public health services delivery among others would assist in reducing the burden and associated deaths.

NAN reports that zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animals to humans through various means.

He identified some of the means to include through consumption of contaminated food and water, exposure to pathogens during preparation, processing or by direct contact with infected animals or humans.

The president, who described the menace as worrisome, urged members of the association to put in their best professionally to salvage the situation.

“The recent increase in the number of outbreaks of some zoonotic disease such as Lassa Fever and Monkey Pox among others are becoming increasingly worrisome.

“Government at all levels should beef up veterinary extension, surveillance and public health service delivery to forestall these menace from becoming endemic in Nigeria,”Abonyi said.

Similarly, Abonyi urged government to facilitate the transition from nomadism to ranching, to improve animal husbandry and put an end to farmers/herdsmen clashes and associated death toll.

According to him, as a matter of urgency, federal and states governments should put necessary machinery and intervention in place in livestock industry.

These, he noted, would further safeguard lives and properties arising from herdsmen/farmers clashes and also improve food production and livestock yield.

Abonyi urged members to educate and enlighten stakeholders on the need for peaceful coexistence and the inherent benefits of ranching to livestock farmers.

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