Stakeholders in the animal health sector have urged the states and local governments in Nigeria to step up efforts at dog vaccination in order to meet 2030 rabies elimination.
The stakeholders– Life Stock Management Services (LMS) and the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the commemoration of the World Rabies Day.
World Rabies Day is observed annually on September 28 and the theme for 2023 is, “All for 1, one health for all.” Dr Abubarka Muhammed, Director and Chief Executive Officer of LMS, in his keynote address, said the states and local councils should prioritise efforts at rabies elimination by carrying out awareness campaign and dog vaccination on regular basis.
He identified weak coordination of fight against rabies at the subnational level as a challenge militatting against rabies control in the country.
Muhammed said that rabies was one of the deadliest tropical zoonoses and one of the six disease prioritised in the animal health sector.
According to him, the 2018 Nigeria Centre for Disease Control report shows that no fewer than 10,000 dog-bite incidences in Nigeria saredocumented per annum with over 1,600 deaths.
He said the best way to go in achieving the set target was to collaborate with traditional rulers and intensify awareness on danger pose by rabies and its preventive measure.
Muhammed listed other challenges militating against rabies elimination as inadequate laboratory diagnostic capacity especially in the human sector, limited access to vaccines and supportive in rural areas.
Others, according to him, are poor funding for rabies programme with high cost of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), little awareness on anti-rabies vaccines and PEP as well as inadequate legislation.
He identified the way forward as stronger collaborative efforts by major stakeholders the ministries of agriculture, health and environment as well as private sector, stronger engagement and linkage with states and local governments.
Also, Dr Chinna-Joe Iruobe, Chairman NVMA FCT Chapter, said rabies was a deadly zoonotic viral disease known to man.
“It is zoonotic in nature; affecting all warm blooded animals and man and is mostly transmitted by domestic and wild canidae through the bite of an infected animal mostly dogs and cats.
“Rabies is deadly and accounts for about 59,000 human deaths annually, however it is of essence to note that it is preventable when our dogs and cats are adequately vaccinated annually and kept on leash, ” she said.
Speaking on the theme, Iruobe said the association was partnering with LMS, NCDC, Federal Ministry of Health, Environment and Agriculture and Food Security to ensure elimination of the menace of rabies by the year 2030.