Combating animal infectious diseases in Nigeria was this year’s focus of the General Council Meeting of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) in Abuja recently. In his opening remarks, the president of the council, Professor Garba Sharubutu, argued for strong collaboration between medical and veterinary doctors to mitigate some of the deadly animal diseases that pose threat to public health.
Professor Sharubutu lamented that effort to bring these important stakeholders together in disease control did not yield positive result as members sought welfare instead of service to the people, noting that some members of one group see themselves as superior to the other.
He stressed that a strong collaboration between medical and veterinary doctors will do the country good in fighting animal-originated diseases as the cases in many developed countries, adding that veterinary doctors who have special training in that area will provide insight into treatment and mitigation.
Dr. Debo Ogungbade, a renowned veterinary public health expert, in a presentation titled “Towards Zoonotic/Infection Incidence Reduction in Nigeria: Ecologic-based Mitigation through Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Public System Services (Focus on Ebola),” said 75% of infectious diseases come from animals.
He posited that most of the infectious disease in the world are from animals citing the case of syphilis, Ebola, rabies and many other sexual infections; adding that man’s sexual behavior(those having sex with animals) and relations with animals as responsible for the outbreaks.
Ogungbade also expressed concern that lack of collaboration among relevant stakeholders in the public health sector is affecting the health sector.
“The response to a microbial threat from detection to prevention and control is an interdisciplinary effort involving all sectors of the public health, clinical medicine and veterinary medicine communities,” he advised