Sixty veterinarians are set to partake in an ongoing training programme, Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET).
Two organizations, The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development partnered to set up this training.
The purpose of this training is to educate veterinarians on how to detect and control animal diseases, including zoonotic diseases that can affect humans.
The FAO National coordinator Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Nigeria, Dr. Ayodele Majekodunmi, said the training is designed to enhance veterinarians’ skills and competencies to manage emerging health emergencies in animals through animal surveillance.
According to the Coordinator, the training will be extended to more states this year. This will cover up more areas in the country and also include other sectors like the police and the army.
She stressed the need to expand the reach to more states and the private sector, stating that a huge impact was made in improving disease surveillance and reporting last year.
On the outbreak of Avian Influenza that has spread to several states, Dr. Majekodunmi said the FAO conducted a risk assessment wherein several people were trained and samples were collected to find out the current situation of avian influenza in their states and the risk of spreading to other states.
“We are using the information to see how to curb the spread of the diseases to other states and it can be curbed in the states affected”.
The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) in Nigeria Dr. Olaniran Alabi, said several states have been affected including some African countries with the most recent outbreak in Zamfara State.
Alabi, who was represented by the Director, Veterinary Control Service, Dr Maimunah Habib, said the federal government is trying to control animal diseases, given the fact that only biosecurity can be used to control the outbreak.
The Chief Veterinary Officer lamented that most farmers are not doing the right thing and they are often advised to ensure their birds.
He said, “Government cannot compensate farmers with more than 3,000 birds, they can only compensate farmers who have their biosecurity in place as well as registered with an insurance company.
On farmers not reporting outbreaks on their farms, Dr Alabi said that is their major challenge as the Federal government can only form policies, while states and local government must follow up with the farmers to ensure they are doing the right thing and ensure that good veterinary services are employed to manage their birds.
The 60 veterinarians are in addition to the thirty cohorts of frontline veterinarians trained and deployed by the FAO’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) across 26 states in 2021 to tackle emergency animal diseases and improve food safety