Cattle Care and National Security Top Vet. Doctors’ Conference – as Nigerian Train Travel Experience of Delegates Speak volumes
Veterinary practices in many parts of Nigeria are often shrouded in silence or placed at obtuse corners of public activities. Usefulness of Veterinary doctors is therefore not valued in many places in the country. Many quacks have thus invaded practices hitherto reserved to Veterinary Doctors with grave consequences at developing dangerous strains of transferable animal diseases to the entire public health space. Also, our National Security is significantly Health related, by this, health is meant as in its united form of man, animal and environment (including grazing space).
The need to pay attention to veterinary services is very imperative. At the same time it is the opinion of many people that Veterinary Doctors should come out from their quietness to engage the public and various governments and their agents in vibrant discourses on the advantages of correctly engaging Veterinary specialists and on the dangers and other insecurity involved in neglecting animal health care services by both the policy makers and the public among other themes.
The public expect Veterinary practitioners to assert their knowledge and skill to the benefit of the nation.
So, recently about 644 Veterinarians across Nigeria led by their President, Hon. Dr. Godwin Abonyi and Dr. Sati Ngulukun, the General Secretary gathered as guests of the Government and people of Kano State where they met with Governor; Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje – their Chief Host, everyone knew that rational outcomes would emerge from the Association’s deliberations.
The theme for the 54th Annual Congress was “Veterinary Services as Tools for Advancing Economic Growth, Food and National Security.”
At the end of the week-long 54th Annual Congress of Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association held in Kano, all the 644 strong Congress attendees reiterated the responsibilities of Veterinarians in Animal and Human Health and on our Environment through multi-disciplinary collaboration under the concept of One-Health.
The Annual Congress also noted the worrisome upsurge in International Trade in Hides and Skin of donkeys from Nigeria and the attendant increase in the numbers of Donkeys slaughtered. The Association cautioned against the practice that can lead to the extinction of Donkeys and therefore urged the Federal Government to design Policies that will promote breeding and discourage indiscriminate slaughtering.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural development Chief Audu Ogbeh was the Special Guest was represented at the occasion where he called on Government at all levels to fund the livestock sector to enable it attain its potential in the current diversification efforts of Nigerian national economy.
Besides, the Annual Congress expressed fears on the continued threats to National Food Security by the Farmers/Herders conflicts across diverse geo-political zones in the country. The Veterinary Doctors supported the determination of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development towards resolving the crisis through promotion of cattle ranching as a viable alternative for improved economic livestock production in Nigeria.
On the outbreak of certain zoonotic diseases (transferable animal to man diseases) in the country, particularly the Monkey Pox disease, the Veterinary doctors appealed to the Federal Government to constitute an all-encompassing Technical Committee of Animal and Human Health Professionals to work out strategies for the containment of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases.
Apart from the Monkey Pox disease, other transferable animal to man diseases in recent memory in Nigeria are Lassa fever, Avian Influenza, Swine influenza (H1 N1) and Ebola. Some others are Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sicknesses, Cistercercosis, Toxoplasmosis (from cat) and even bites from Snakes, scorpion and dogs (rabies) all of which veterinary doctors have been trained to prevent or handle; some within the country and others at Nigerian air, sea and land borders.
The Conference expressed gratitude to the Governor – Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the government and people of Kano State for their warm reception.
Meanwhile, a sideline account of some delegates from Oyo State was that they left Ibadan by train of the Nigerian Railway Services at about 5.00 p.m. on Friday preceding the conference, but contrary to their expectations of a fast journey, they were able to reach Kano after three (3) days which was about 8.00 o’clock on Monday morning. Yet, these delegates had a non-stop Nigerian train journey for the Ibadan – Kano road distance of about 964 kilometers or 14hours 21minutes, a walking distance of 830.3kilometers or 7 days and an airplane distance of 721 kilometers or 54.1 minutes; all distances are estimates of Google map services.