Emerging zoonotic diseases, insecurity, threat to food security —Minister

Posted by Timige, On 7 Nov, 2023 | Updated On 7 Nov, 2023 No Comments »


The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has identified climate change, natural disasters, insecurity and emerging zoonotic diseases as threats to food security.

This was contained in a communique signed by the chairman, Communique Drafting Committee, Dr Sati Ngulukun and issued at the end of the 59th annual congress of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), held in Lagos State.

The communique said that the minister, who Chaired the ceremony, called for collaboration among stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector to combat the challenges affecting food security in Nigeria, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

The minister also highlighted the issues of climate change, increased outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, natural disasters, insecurity and persistent farmer herder clashes in sub-Saharan Africa as threats to food security.

The chief host and Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwu-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ruth Olusanya, encourage the veterinary profession to partner with the state government, since the state is the highest consumer of livestock in Nigeria.

He also encouraged the association to use the social media as a tool to create awareness of their activities.

“The keynote speaker, Prince S. J. Samuel, chairman, Origin Tech Group, encouraged veterinarians to align with the realities of the time due to climate change and modernisation.

“He also challenged them to align with human health and environmentalist to enhance public health.

“The theme speaker was Dr Ken Opara, the President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

“Dr Opara  emphasised the role of veterinarians in safeguarding the health and welfare of animals. This, he said, could be achieved through data sharing for economic growth, digitisation of veterinary activities through tele-medicine and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases,” the communique said.

Additionally, the communique noted that Dr Opara appealed that veterinary laboratories should be supported for quick diagnosis of zoonotic diseases that will enhance public health.

President of NVMA, Dr Olutoyin Adetuberu, encouraged members to take their place in the forefront of public health, ensuring food safety and sustaining bond between human and animals.

She told the veterinarians to leverage on emerging opportunities to tackle new challenges.

In its resolution, the communique said the congress “commends the Federal Government for the construction of three veterinary medical Centres located in FCT, Gombe as well as Kano and the building of primary animal health centres in 34 states of the federation.

“Calls upon the Federal Government to extend the construction of veterinary medical Centres to other geopolitical regions of Nigeria.

“Calls on the Federal Government to, as a matter of priority, put in place structures for the commencement of housmanship for vet graduates, in order to sharpen their skills in the diagnosis and management of animals and zoonotic diseases.

“Calls on the government at all levels to create an enabling environment for the practice of the veterinary profession, particularly for young veterinarians by providing grants and loans.

“Calls on governments at all levels particularly in places with low manpower in the animal health sub-sector to, as a matter of urgency, employ veterinary Doctors to boost the animal healthcare delivery system.

“Calls on the the government of Lagos State and other states in the federation to provide land for private veterinary clinics and hospitals. This is to avoid having practicing premises within shopping malls and markets due to the public health risk associated with it.

“Calls on public and private institutions on the use of new technologies for animal production and veterinary service delivery. Calls on government to support surveillance of transboundary, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases.”

Source: State Oyo - Tribune

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