Gov. Abaubakar Atiku-Bagudu of Kebbi State has called for closer collaboration between stakeholders to facilitate total eradication of rabies desease in the country by 2030.
Bagudu made the call at the 2020 World Rabies Day, organised by the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), in Birnin Kebbion Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event with the theme: “End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate,” was part of activities lined up to commemorate the Rabies Day in the country.
Bagudu noted that such collaboration between the stakeholders was critical to ensure effective campaign against the disease in the country.
He enjoined researchers and scientists in the country to rise up to the challenge of exploring local solution as against reliance on solutions from elsewhere.
According to him, it is proven that rabies is a disease that is being transferred from animals to human, hence, the need for caution in dealing with such animals.
He, however, advised that people must appreciate the fact that animal life was also important as human life.
While lamenting that the population of dogs in the state, put at below 40,000 was too low, the governor urged dog owners to ensure frequent vaccination, to effectively tackle the disease.
Dr Aishatu Abubakar-Baku, President, Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), lauded the Kebbi State Government for its resolve to collaborate with the relevant stakeholders to eradicate rabies by 2030.
Abubakar-Baku noted that thousands of people and animals die from the disease around the world despite the fact that rabies was 100 per cent vaccine-preventable disease.
She said: “This is most critical in developing and resource deficient countries in Asia and Africa including Nigeria.
“Part of this sad global situation stems from lack of well structured, resource supported, organised and effective rabies vaccination programme in these countries, as well as low-level of awareness and international collaboration on the disease control efforts.
“Even the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) Project, an international intervention, aimed at eliminating human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030, seems to have lost “steam” and may not be achievable after all.
“Precautions and frightening as the situation may be, hope is not lost, with the full participation of all stakeholders.”
One of the resource person, Prof. Asabe Dzikwi, noted that once clinical rabies “is confirmed, there is no cure; but it is 100 per cent preventable.”
Dzikwi, a lecturer with the University of Jos, attributed the disease to common domestic animals, lamenting that over 1,600 cases of rabies were recorded annually in the country.
“Rabies is real; when dog bites you, it goes straight to the brain through the blood; and from the brain, it goes to other parts of the body.
“We need coordinated and systematic approach to effectively control rabies in Nigeria. We need constant education, enlightenment, mass media engagement and collaboration with social scientists,” she said. (NAN)