By Hillary Asemota
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organsation (FAO), are concluding appropriate and effective framework geared toward disease surveillance and reporting.
The Minister in charge of the Ministry, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar and his FAO counterpart, Dr. Guy Kouame, expressed determination to involve other stakeholders in deploying effective programme for prevention, control and eradication of disease nationally, regionally and globally.
The Minister, represented by the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services Dr. Maimuna Habib, made this known at the Round Table Discussion with the Representatives of the Military, Para – Military, Nigeria Police Force and National Park Services in charge of animal disease control held in Abuja, recently.
Abubakar, stated that the ministry was responsible for the formulating and implementing policies and programmes on agriculture development on behalf of the Federal Government on matters relating to animal disease prevention and control, animal health and welfare, food safety and veterinary practice.
The Minister, said: ‘’There was little or no synergy between the ministry and relevant authorities in the area of animal disease reporting over the years as this has significantly affected the completeness of data on disease situation and has impacted negatively on our international obligation as a nation in reporting timely manner disease situation to international organizations.”
According to him, the benefits of disease reporting to include, control of zoonotic diseases to ensure improved public health, promotion of animal welfare, declaration and maintenance of a disease-free status, implementation of a rapid response to mitigate the impact of a disease outbreak on the economy amongst others.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Dr. Peter Umanah, stated that the Ministry through the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services plays a coordinating role by ensuring that national Veterinary service in the country is in line with international standards and global best practices.
Umakhihe, added that “the ministry has embraced the recent effort in the area of implementing animal disease prevention and control programmes in the country in order to build a strong and resilience National Veterinary Services that would stand the taste of time.”
He urged that deliberate steps be taken to ensure the implementation of a robust animal health policy in the country.
In her remarks, the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habib represented by Dr. James Balami, stated that the Objective of the meeting was to create a platform for discussion and interaction aimed at providing the necessary synergy in the prevention and control of diseases through effective disease surveillance and reporting.
Also in her remark, Dr. Guy Kouame, said as veterinarians, they were not only responsible for animal health but the humanity as well. He pointed that there was no better time for a collaboration and coordination in animal health and production than now.
Signed: Mrs. Mabel Mbosire Obe, for: Director, Information (FMARD).