The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has donated Free 50,000 Doses of Anthrax Vaccines to the Lagos State Government (LASG) to mitigate the spread of the Anthrax Disease to Animals and Human and ensure the Safety of the Livestock Sub Sector

Speaking during the Courtesy Visit to State Ministry of Agriculture at State Secretariat Ikeja, Lagos recently, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe represented by the Deputy Director Veterinary and Pests Control Services, Dr. Abdulkareem Durosinlorun said that donation of the vaccines would fast track Vaccination of Animals against Anthrax Disease and ensure that the Butchers sales Healthy Meat as well as Safeguard the Livestock Sub Sector.

He stated that anthrax, an infectious zoonosis disease, caused by bacteria affects both domestic and wild animals and can also affect human especially those working closely with infected animals.

He pointed out that the bacteria, which exist as spores, can be found in the soil, wool or hair of infected animals.

He added that animals can be infected when they breath in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plant or water. And humans can get it when they inhale or breath in the spores, eat contaminated meat, or come in contact with the skin through wounds or cuts while handling a sick or dead anthrax infected animal.

Dr Umakhihe appealed to the State Government for Robust Public Awareness and Sensitization Engagement among Stakeholders towards Prevention and Control of the Disease in Lagos State.

In his words, ‘’ the essence of our visit is to create awareness and sensitization among stakeholders in the prevention and control of disease in Nigeria.

“We have also provided 50,000 free dosage of the Anthrax vaccine to the state in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

“The cattle merchants and butchers need to know the symptoms and signs of this disease so that they can immediately alert the veterinary authorities, he added.

He emphasized the need to mount surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs, livestock markets and at the point of entries in the state to detect the disease early before it spreads.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Ibironke Emokpae, appreciated FMARD for its support in curtailing the spread of the Anthrax Disease in the State.

She revealed that “Vaccinations have begun in the state and we have set up surveillance and biosecurity at point of entire of abattoirs in Lagos to detect any ailing animal.

“We are collaborating with the Lagos Ministry of Health and promise to put in more efforts to prevent the spread of the disease,”

Mrs Emokpae further revealed that “Lagos State has developed a house to house vaccination campaign because it is an urban area where some people do urban farming. Lagos State is taking the vaccination campaign to urban livestock farmers’’.

While on Sensitization visit to Oko-oba cattle market and abattoir, Agege, the Chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Lalega pledged the commitment of the Cattle Merchants and Butchers towards the fight against the Disease.

He affirmed that they were aware of the disease and would ensure adherence to safety measures, promising to give all necessary support to ensure that the disease is curtailed.

In his reaction, the Country Team Leader, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Nigeria, Dr. Otto Muhinda, commended the State Government for its initiatives in creating awareness of the disease and prevention measures.

He added that “we have seen that the awareness is very high, we appreciate the way the people, local authorities, butchers and the cattle merchants are aware of this outbreak’’.

“We look forward to continue the monitoring in other states, we need to sensitize more stakeholders on national level for a national strategy to stop the spread of the disease’’.

Highlight of the event was the Vaccination of animals in urban Farmers Association at Surulere, Lagos state.

Also, the Permanent Secretary’s representative led the Advocacy Visit to Ashogbon Meat Market, Lion Unisco Abattoir Bariga and Urban Farmers Association at Surulere, Lagos State.

In attendance were Veterinarians from FMARD, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, Staff of NCDC, Ministry of Environment and ECTAD – FAO, Lagos State Butchers Association, among others.

Ezeaja Ikemefuna
AD, Information
For: Director, Information (FMARD)