Benue state government has promised to embark on sustained annual vaccination of dogs and cats as part of measures to eliminate rabies in the state. The commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resource, Dr Timothy Ijir, stated this during the flag off of free antirabies vaccination and awareness campaign at the Benue state Veterinary Clinic, Makurdi, as part of activities marking the 2020 World Rabies Day in the state. The commissioner who was represented by the Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Edward Amali called on all veterinarians, animal health workers, and dog owners to see themselves as frontline workers in the fight against the deadly disease. The commissioner stated that it is disheartening and fearful that the case fatality of rabies disease is almost 100 % which means every rabies victim is almost certain of death from the disease. He however expressed relief in the fact that the disease is vaccine-preventable and called on all to take advantage of this year’s theme of celebration which is End Rabies: Collaboration, Vaccination to collaborate with government and other relevant agencies to end the deadly disease.
“It is heartwarming to know that collaboration is in the fore front of this year’s celebration as several agencies have sponsored the celebration through provision of vaccines and other materials to help in the vaccination process. Government on her part is looking at undertaking antirabies vaccinations and awareness campaign in the coming months and sustained annual vaccinations to help eliminate the deadly virus by 2030”.
The commissioner appreciated the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association Benue State and other sponsors for collaborating with government in taking steps to ensure that rabies is eliminated in the state.
Earlier in a welcome address, the chairman of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association Benue state chapter, Dr Sabina Mbafan Num-Adom appreciated the sponsors of this year’s celebration and called on all dog owners to help in taking the message to their communities.
Sponsors of the celebration took turns to deliver their goodwill messages. The Chief Executive Officer of Tesedona Foundation for Animal Health, Dr Dooshima Kwange called for the review of existing laws on rabies to mandate every dog owner to ensure that vaccination of their dogs is up to date or stand to loose them. She emphasized the need for veterinarians and other animal health practitioners to take the message to the rural areas by encouraging dog owners to present their dogs for vaccination. She ended her message by calling on all relevant stakeholders to through coordination and collaboration, work towards achieving the set target of eliminating the disease by the year 2030.
In another goodwill message, the Chief Executive Officer of War Against Rabies Foundation, Dr Grace Kia who was represented by Dr Philomena Mde Ikyertor emphasized the deadly nature of the virus and called on all proponents in the fight against rabies to intensify the fight through awareness creation and vaccination. Dr Kia reiterated the resolve of her organization in ensuring that rabies is put to an end by the year 2030. Also presenting his message, the Chief Executive Officer of Vet-Connect, Dr Akpem Shedrach stated that he has made available his clinic, Mobovet Clinic located along Abu King Shuluwa road, Makurdi for the free vaccination services which will last for 2 weeks.
In his address, the Director Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olaniran Alabi who was represented by Dr Jwander I. Daber called on all veterinarians to ensure that all cases of rabies are reported as this will help government in evaluating the progress made from the fight against the disease. He called on all stakeholders to collaborate with government to end the deadly scourge.
In a chat with Livestonews after the event, a dog owner, Mr Kuku Emmanuel Shighe commended the organizers of the event for the awareness creation and promised to take the message to his community by inviting all dog owners to present their dogs for vaccination.
The September 28 date was set aside by United Nations to mark World Rabies Day in order to create awareness about the impact of the disease in humans and animals, provide information and advice on how to prevent the disease in the communities and support advocacy for increased efforts in rabies control. LIVESTONEWS.