In a bid to address the challenges in the livestock sector, the Federal Government has launched the National Strategic Documents for the Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) to eradicate animal and zoonotic diseases in the livestock sector.
Speaking during the event that took place in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said transboundary animal diseases were among the most economically devastating for livestock in the West and Central Africa sub-regions.
Osinbajo pointed out that it was responsible for over N29 billion losses annually in the livestock sub-sector, through mortality, morbidity and trade restrictions in Nigeria occasioned by the endemicity of some of these diseases in the country.
The vice president stated that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and in collaboration with relevant stakeholders in other MDAs, were at the forefront of coordinating the fight against diseases that afflict animals.
“Intensive surveillance, epidemiology and response are being conducted in the hotspots, to keep the rising profile of the diseases in check. Also, we work in collaboration with state veterinary services, particularly in frontline international borders. In addition, [we must ensure that] mass vaccinations against economically devastating diseases are carried out annually for millions of cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, etc.”
Prof. Osinbajo said that the government realises that despite all efforts at controlling diseases both within and along transhumance corridors, veterinarians, clinicians, animal health service providers and other important stakeholders require a roadmap that will guide them properly, to be able to control and achieve eventual eradication of these diseases.
He informed that the development and validation of strategic documents had received wide stakeholder inputs and contributions from experts, as well as key players in animal health and the livestock industry.
Speaking further, Osinbajo noted that: ‘’The contents of the strategies are self-explanatory and straightforward for easy understanding, especially by respective experts. It is, thus, our desire to see to the smooth implementation and operation of the strategies, to ensure the realisation of the objectives they are meant to serve’’.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said: “The ministry, through the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services and in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, developed and validated national strategic plans for the control and eradication of major transboundary animal diseases such as contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), African trypanosomosis, tick-borne diseases and foot and mouth disease (FMD) in cattle; Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goats, African swine fever (ASF) in pigs, Newcastle disease (NCD) in chickens, among others’’.
He revealed that the Federal Government was targeting the establishment of primary animal health centres in all 774 local government areas to tackle the challenges posed by TADs holistically across the country.
Earlier, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the director, rural development, Engr. Udo Daniel called TADs “highly contagious diseases that can spread very rapidly across national and international boundaries. They have a high potential of causing great socioeconomic losses and public health consequences to our livestock farmers and pastoralists who depend on these animals as their means of livelihood’’.
Umakhihe lauded developmental partners for their continuous support and collaboration with the ministry in addressing many challenges bedevilling the livestock subsector in Nigeria.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information, signed by Ikemefuna Ezeaja said the highlight of the event was the official unveiling of the National Strategic Documents for the Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs).