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Nigeria must avoid another pandemic, VCN warns

The Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) has said that the recent exclusion of the Council by the Federal Government from national health regulators is ill-advised and would have a far- reaching and devastating effect, and it poses a National public health risk to the over 200 million Nigerian lives.

VCN said it is no longer news that 75 per cent of emerging and re-emerging human diseases are of animal origin hence zoonoses has become a global focal point.

The Council said preventive medicine is no longer complete nor comprehensive without inclusion or proper placement of veterinarians in Public health.

A statement signed by the President of VCN, Dr Moses Arokoyo said this decision will negate efforts of the veterinary community in the fight against fake drug usage in animals without regard for withdrawal time.

The statement also said that the move means increased consumption of meat laden with drug residues by the human population, leading to increased incidence of cancer cases, as well as antimicrobial resistance and ultimately increased deaths.

“It is estimated that over 10 million lives could be lost annually to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2050.

“How do we prevent and control these, in addition to the resurgence of zoonotic diseases without Government support? The combined effort of medical professionals and Veterinarians is a more assured approach to safeguard the health and lives of Nigerians.

“The world is a global village and One-Health is the global approach to Public Health, Nigeria cannot exempt itself from the One-Health approach.

“The last outbreak of Anthrax should not be forgotten in a hurry, as the early detection and prompt response from Veterinary Council-certified Veterinarians was largely responsible for mitigation of spread of the deadly zoonotic disease.

“The COVID-19 pandemic left a sour taste in all of our mouths as the livestock industry went comatose, and till date the multi-trillion naira poultry industry which employs an estimated 5 million Nigerians directly and 25 million indirectly is yet to recover from the cumulative effect of this, high cost of raw materials, Avian Influenza et al”, the statement noted.

VCN however, warned that if the Federal Government allows non-regulation in the veterinary space, this will weaken the animal health sector further, especially at this time when it should be strengthened to ensure adequate food security.

“The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association strongly believes in Mr President’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” but fears that this move may not be in tandem with it and in the spirit of One- Health, we strongly advocate that the Veterinary Council of Nigeria be included among the national health regulators to be considered for funding to safeguard public health,” the statement added.

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Nigeria must avoid another pandemic, VCN warns

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