By Uchenna Ugwu
The Ebonyi Government has embarked on free vaccination of animals across the state, an official has said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Humphrey Nwoabasi, said this at the launch of a Transboundary Animal Diseases Vaccination program on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
Nwoabasi described the program as a Federal Government’s initiative to eradicate rabies and transboundary diseases that cause zoonotic infections.
He said that the objective was to improve productivity in livestock and ensure the well-being of consumers.
He commended the Federal Government for the vaccines and promised that the essence would be achieved.
He said that there was need for active collaboration between human and animal doctors to curb the spread of animal diseases in society.
He promised to sustain the existing partnership between the ministry and veterinary agency in the state.
Nwoabasi said that council chairmen and traditional rulers would key in to ensure that the exercise reached every part of the state.
He promised that the ministry would carry out effective sensitization and mobilization to ensure the success of the program.
He expressed the hope that the program would be effectively implemented to ensure that a reasonable number of animals was vaccinated.
The Director, State Veterinary Services, Dr Ephraim Nwanga, said that the program was designed to enhance productivity and health of animals and also promote human health.
Nwanga said the ministry received vaccines for rabies, Newcastle diseases, Peste des Petits Ruminants (sheep and goat plague), foot and mouth disease, cantagious bovine pleuropneumonia, among others.
“The Federal Government has taken a decision to give free vaccination to dogs, goats, sheep, pigs and cattle, amongst other animals, against those diseases.
“There are some diseases that can kill livestock but may not affect human beings.
“But losses may lead to depression of owners of those animals.
“These diseases are mostly imported from other countries by headers, and some may go from Nigeria to other countries and that has caused a lot of problems,’’ he said.
Nwanga said that if animals were protected from these diseases that cause a lot of economic devastation, there would be employment opportunities and a sustainable source of animal protein.
“We found out that it is now difficult for families to have access to meat, due to outbreak of transboundary diseases,” he said.
He listed the diseases as the avian influenza in poultry, African swine, Guinea pine in pig and in cattle, among others.
The Representative of the Federal Ministry of Veterinary Services in the state, Dr Solomon Okoli, commended the Federal Government for the initiative.
Okoli, who is a Federal Epidemiology Officer, said that the Federal Government was making efforts to eradicate rabies by 2030.
He thanked the State Government for collaborating with the Federal Government to ensure that the goal of the program was achieved.
Also, the state Chairman, Pig Farmers Association, Mr Micheal Udenwe, thanked the Federal Government for supporting animal farmers to enhance productivity.
Udenwe urged the Federal Government to sustain the exercise in order to ensure that its objective was realised.
By Uchenna Ugwu