VCN and IFAIN to partner to train personnel in diagnostic techniques for infectious diseases

Report By Dr Saater Kumaga

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A trustee of the International Foundation Against Infectious Diseases in Nigeria (IFAIN), Professor Stephen Obaro has stated the readiness of the organization to cooperate with the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) to train man power in the diagnostic techniques for infectious disease. He stated this on January 15, 2020 while delivering a lecture at the first in a series of mentoring programme organized by Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, FCT chapter at the conference hall of Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) in Maitama Abuja.

The professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases who is also the Director, Pediatrics International Research Programme, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA, while speaking on the theme “the opportunities for multidisciplinary projects in infectious diseases and training for graduate veterinarians” said he has discovered from his over five years of research and field work on community acquired pneumonia and invasive bacterial diseases in Nigeria that Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of death in children. He emphasized the importance of one health concept where human medical practitioners and veterinarians have to collaborate in combating infectious diseases as over 70% of the emerging infectious diseases in people are known to come from animals.

Professor Obaro stated that children are at high risk of contracting zoonotic infectious diseases from pets such as dogs and cats and less traditional pets like reptiles, rodents, exotic birds, and arthropods. “Children in the villages especially in Northern Nigeria who are sent out at very tender age to graze animals are at high risk of contacting these infectious diseases as they maintain contact with the animals”.

The erudite professor ended his lecture by calling on veterinary clinics and hospitals to improve on their disease surveillance activities through switching to electronic record keeping, regular vaccination of pets, as well as training of pet owners to imbibe hygienic practices.

Earlier in his opening address, the chairman of the event, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, who is  the executive secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria called for training of personnel on best diagnostic practices for infectious diseases. He said as it is now, the veterinary profession lacks the manpower to handle the laboratory equipment that are usually used in carrying out diagnosis of some of these infectious diseases in animals. He called on IFAIN and other agencies to consider training of personnel to handle the robust equipment that are being donated by such organizations. He also urged veterinarians to be passionate about research that will translate into problem solving in the society.

In his address, the FCT chapter chairman of Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Bala Muhammed said the seminar is the first in the monthly series that will be held henceforth and is expected to avail younger veterinarians the opportunity to be trained and mentored in the various aspects of the profession. He encouraged veterinarians to take advantage of the programme as other organisations will be coming on board to make presentations.

It will be recalled that the national body of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association during her annual meeting in Lokoja in October 2019, emphasized the importance of mentorship and encouraged all state chapters of the association to put together mentorship programmes for her members in addition to the efforts of the central mentorship committee. It is no doubt that the FCT chapter is the first to hit the ground running in that line. The second in the series is expected to come up in February 2019. LIVESTONEWS.



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