By Bello Ihiove
The Kogi State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government has commenced the fight to kick out rabies virus in the State.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony held at the Old Township Stadium in Lokoja, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. David Ape disclosed that the state government under the leadership of His Excellency Governor Yahaya Bello has provided the needed environment and logistics for the vaccines to be administered to dogs across the 21 Local Government Areas in the state to prevent rabies in the State.
He further disclosed that in Nigeria, less than 5% of dogs receive the vaccination due to high cost purchase and lack of awareness, this as against the 70% standard of dogs population vaccinated annually for 3 years.
According to him, the anti rabies vaccination has become necessary as bite from dog and cat could cause sickness such as mental illness, which he said in most cases can be deadly and incurable.
While advising cat and dog owners to keep their animals safe within the reach of their control, he cautioned that in case of any bite from dog, the casualty should immediately report to the veterinary clinic for prompt treatment.
He, however, disclosed that the vaccination will continue in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the State at each area veterinary offices.
While thanking the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria for the building of Primary Health Care Centre at Mopa Moro LG, the Commissioner thanked His Excellency for his support towards the Veterinary Livestock Industry in the state, while disclosing that in 2018, 26 veterinary professionals were employed for the first time in the history of the state.
Earlier in his remark, the Director ,Veterinary Livestock and Services of state Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Muhammad Salawo Tarawa said livestock aside oil has the capacity to boast and stabilise the economy of the country, hence the need to care for them; adding that up to 90% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to human.
Dr. Muhammad further appreciated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Alabi and Kogi State Government for the success of the program.
Similarly, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Olamiran Alabi in his remark stressed that the disease is mostly affecting children which are the most vulnerable because of ignorance.
He said the diseases is prevalent in Nigeria because our dogs are not mostly vaccinated, hence exposed to this virus that is dangerous to human existence if bitten.
In her good will message, the Head of Civil Service in the State, Mrs. Hannah Odiyo expressed her delight that the vaccine process started under her watch as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and now she is happy to be part of the flag off in reality.