In a joint effort with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government has launched a programme offering free vaccination against anthrax to safeguard livestock and prevent the spread of the disease to both animals and humans.
Representing the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, the deputy director of veterinary and pests control services, Dr. Abdulkareem Durosinlorun, visited the Emir’s palace along with his team to express sympathy for the recent diagnosis of anthrax in Niger State.
Umakhihe emphasised that anthrax, an infectious zoonosis disease caused by bacteria, affects both domestic and wild animals and can also be transmitted to humans, especially those who work closely with infected animals. To mitigate the effects of the disease, the Federal Government has dispatched 50,000 doses of Anthrax vaccines to the state for mass vaccination of all livestock within a 12-kilometre radius of the farm where the disease was initially diagnosed.
Additionally, Umakhihe revealed that plans were underway to conduct a free anthrax vaccination campaign in other states as well.
“We have also imposed restrictions on the movement of animals within the farm where the outbreak occurred for the next 20 days from the date of the onset of the outbreak. This measure is to ensure that if these animals are infected, they do not infect other animals around them. The farm, its equipment and its surroundings will also be thoroughly disinfected. Furthermore, the ministry will mount surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs, and livestock markets around the farm and similar locations in the country to detect the disease early and prevent its spread.”
The permanent secretary solicited the cooperation of the people of the emirate to enable the team (working under the one health concept) to carry out all necessary activities to bring the outbreak under control. He also assured that all individuals in contact with the infected animals have been placed on prophylactic treatment and are being closely monitored.
The Emir of Suleja, His Royal Highness, Mallam Muhammad Awwal, commended the Federal Government for its prompt response to the outbreak. He expressed his shock and that of his council members over the disease’s occurrence in his domain. However, he assured their readiness to contain the disease and deployed some health workers to assist the team.
Emphasising the importance of synergy among stakeholders during such outbreaks, the royal called for collaboration between the state government and the Federal Government. He pledged to sensitise his council members on how to handle and prevent the disease effectively.
During an advocacy visit to Suleja abbatoir, the head of Niger State Butchers Association, Alhaji Jubril Madalla expressed deep gratitude to the team for their visit. He pointed out that the veterinary doctor in charge had already sensitised them about the disease and they were aware of safety measures. He promised their full support in curtailing the disease.
The highlight of the event was the vaccination of animals in Boyiwa, Kajanna and Acerbus farms in Tafa local government area of Niger State.
Furthermore, the representative of the permanent secretary led an advocacy and sensitisation visit to Suleja abbatoir, Livestock Market, primary healthcare centres and Suleja General Hospital.
According to a statement by the ministry’s director of information, Mrs. Eremah Anthonia, the event was attended by veterinarians from the ministry, Niger State Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Services, officials of the National Veterinary Research Institute, staff of NCDC, Ministry of Environment, ECTAD-FAO, members of the Niger State Butchers Association, among others.