The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has made a significant contribution to the fight against Anthrax disease by donating 50,000 free doses of Anthrax vaccines to the Lagos State Government (LASG).
This proactive step aims to curb the spread of Anthrax, a disease that affects both animals and humans, and ensure the safety of the livestock sub-sector.
The permanent secretary of FMARD, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe represented by the deputy director of veterinary and pests control services, Dr. Abdulkareem Durosinlorun highlighted the importance of this donation during a courtesy visit to the State Ministry of Agriculture at the state secretariat in Ikeja, Lagos. He emphasised that the vaccines would expedite the vaccination of animals against Anthrax disease, guaranteeing healthy meat for consumers and safeguarding the livestock industry.
Anthrax is an infectious zoonotic disease caused by bacteria that can affect domestic and wild animals, including humans in close contact with infected animals. Umakhihe explained that the disease-spreading bacteria exist as spores in the soil, wool, or hair of infected animals. These spores can be inhaled or ingested by animals through contaminated soil, plants or water. In humans, exposure can occur through inhalation, consumption of contaminated meat or contact with the skin when handling infected animals.
Umakhihe urged the state government to undertake a robust public awareness campaign to educate stakeholders about disease prevention and control in Lagos State. He stressed the need for vigilance and emphasised that early detection through surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs, livestock markets and entry points is crucial in containing the disease.
The permanent secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Ibironke Emokpae expressed gratitude to FMARD for its support in containing the spread of Anthrax disease in the state. She disclosed that vaccination campaigns have already commenced and stringent surveillance and biosecurity measures have been implemented at abattoir entry points to identify ailing animals.
To combat the disease’s spread, Lagos State has launched a house-to-house vaccination campaign, especially targeting urban livestock farmers. Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Lalega affirmed the commitment of cattle merchants and butchers to the fight against Anthrax disease. He pledged adherence to safety measures and vowed to provide unwavering support to curtail the disease.
The country team leader of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Nigeria, Dr. Otto Muhinda lauded the state’s efforts in raising awareness and prevention measures. He acknowledged the high level of awareness among local authorities, butchers, cattle merchants, and the public about the Anthrax outbreak.
Muhinda stressed the importance of continued monitoring and nationwide sensitisation to formulate a comprehensive strategy to halt the disease’s spread.
The event’s highlights included the vaccination of animals in the Urban Farmers Association at Surulere, Lagos State. The advocacy visit extended to key locations such as Ashogbon Meat Market, Lion Unisco Abattoir Bariga and Urban Farmers Association in Surulere, garnering participation from veterinarians, representatives from FMARD, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, NCDC staff, Ministry of Environment, ECTAD-FAO, Lagos State Butchers Association and other stakeholders.
This crucial step by FMARD, in collaboration with FAO and LASG, underscored the commitment to safeguarding public health, securing the livestock industry, and raising awareness about Anthrax disease prevention and control. The collective efforts of all stakeholders hold the promise of effectively curtailing the spread of this disease in Lagos State and beyond.