The Kebbi Government on Monday said it vaccinated no fewer than 17,200 dogs against rabies.
Alhaji Aminu Dandiga, the Commissioner for Animal Health, Husbandry and Fisheries, made this known during an event organised by the state’s chapter of Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) to celebrate the 2020 World Rabies Day in Birnin Kebbi.
The commissioner explained that Kebbi has an estimated dog population of over 40,000, out of which, 43 per cent have been vaccinated.
He added that 87 persons were exposed to rabies disease and 79 had received post-exposure prophylaxis in 2019.
Dandiga said that the state government, through the Ministry of Animal Health, Husbandry and Fisheries, had been at the forefront of the fight against livestock diseases.
“The most dreaded disease is rabies, especially as the state came under high attacks by high incidences of dog bites, some of which cases upon investigation, were found to be positive for rabies,” he said.
He commended the state Governor, Atiku Bagudu, “for timely intervention and release of funds for rabies and anthrax control and containment, among others.
“I wish to also commend the efforts of our veterinarians, particularly the leadership and members of the NVMA, for blazing the trail innovatively.
“I thank them for ensuring that government policies and programmes, as related to the ministry, are given the necessary support to succeed.”
AIG Aishatu Abubakar-Baku, National President of Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) said that thousands of people and animals were dying daily around the world from rabies, in spite of the fact that such deaths were 100 per cent preventable through vaccines.
According to her, the disease is most critical in developing and resource deficient countries in Asia and Africa, including Nigeria.
She attributed the worsening situation of the disease in those countries to the lack of a well-structured, resource supported, organised and effective rabies vaccination programme, as well as the low-level of awareness and international collaboration on the disease control efforts.
She said “as veterinarians, this year’s world celebration reminds us of the need to work toward ending rabies in the next 10 years (2030), through increased awareness in our communities.
“We should continue to collaborate at local, national and global levels to eliminate rabies, keeping in mind that it is a disease that respects no borders,” she said.
The president highlighted the efforts of the VCN in providing adequate and sustainable regulatory framework to enable animal healthcare practitioners to continue to provide needed services and support to government at all levels in ensuring a healthy people nation.
In his remarks, Gov. Bagudu urged the veterinary practitioners to study how to prevent rabies from animals.
“We should also appreciate the fact that our survival depends on the survival of other species.
“We should not wait for solutions elsewhere; we should appreciate that animals’ lives matter; our problem today stems from our failure to elevate the challenge and appreciate the need to do more.”
The governor thanked the president of the association and the state chapter of the association for finding the state worthy of holding the 2020 World Rabies Day celebration.
World Rabies Day (WRD) is an animal international awareness campaign project, coordinated by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, a non-profit organisation, which started 14 years ago.
It is also observed by the United Nations, and has been endorsed by the international human and veterinary health organisations. (NAN)