Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has restated the readiness of the FCT Administration to combat rabies in the FCT.
The Minister this at the flag-off of the free anti-rabies exercise which took place at the FCT veterinary clinic in Nyayna as part of activities marking the 2017 World Rabies Day.
The FCT Administration, through the Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat, said it has taken delivery of a large consignment of assorted vaccines and will very soon commence mass vaccination of animals and other livestock in the FCT.
This, according to him, is to ensure public health safety of residents. He said reports from some hospitals in the FCT have shown an increase in the rabies cases, a situation which he said was worrisome to the Administration and needs to be curtailed.
The event, which held in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the FCT chapter of Nigerian Veterinary Medicine Association (NVMA) and the private sector, took place in Nyanya.
The Minister was represented at the occasion by the Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichikuwu.
Mallam Bello disclosed that to this end, FCT Administration (FCTA) recently took certain steps to beef up public health safety pertaining to animal health.
Amid rapturous hand clapping by the audience gathered for the event, the Minister assured that between now and December, 2017, FCTA will start ‘’massive vaccination’’ of dogs, adding that by early 2018, vaccination of cattle will kick off.
The Minister stated that FCT wholeheartedly buys into the Federal Government’s vision of a rabies-free society by 2030, adding that all hands are on deck to actualise this.
The free-of-cost element to the programme, he added, is another gesture by FCTA that residents should seize to ensure a rabies-free society.
To give practical effect to the vision to improve general veterinary health services, Malam Bello said, the Administration recently employed 20 veterinary doctors and 12 animal scientists, totaling 32 vital personnel.
Aside the action of giving gainful employment to the affected, the Minister remarked that their recruitment will further empower the Veterinary Department to be self-sustaining.
He assured that soon the veterinary laboratory will be fully equipped to get it off the ground and functional.
Thanking the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for its partnership with FCTA, the Minister requested the Ministry to always remember FCT during the former’s exercises of distribution of agro- inputs and other items, remarking that ‘’FCT is like a state.’’
He equally thanked NVMA, all veterinary doctors, the private sector and other stakeholders for cooperating with FCTA in service delivery, stressing that without the group, the job of keeping FCT free of animal diseases will not be possible.
Earlier, Hon. Ifeanyichukwu performed the official vaccination of a dog at the event. Valuable data involving the brown-coloured dog such as its name, owner’s name and telephone number and so on were written down; vital record-keeping which is being done for all animals in the different veterinary clinics in the Area Councils.
Fielding questions from newsmen later, Hon. Ifeanyichukwu disclosed that about 4000 dogs had been registered and vaccinated since the last exercise.
He advised all homesteads in FCT to take seriously the issue of animal vaccination, stressing that FCTA is insistent on delivering wholesome meat to residents and visitors in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Change Agenda of elevating public welfare to international best standards.
Hon. Ifeanyichukwu urged residents to shun quack veterinary practitioners, saying patrons of such persons run the gauntlet of being given adulterated drugs or those which timing is wrong or replete with several life-threatening inadequacies.
He profusely thanked FCT Minister for paying prime attention to the welfare of FCT residents.
Also speaking to newsmen, the duo of Deputy Director/Head of Animal Health and Clinical Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, who represented his Ministry, and Chairman, FCT chapter, NVMA, Dr Fadipe Oladotun, lauded the FCT Minister for priority given to animal health and by extension, public health safety.
They enjoined residents to keep animals responsibly and healthy so that the animals do not pose public risk.
Among personalities present at the occasion were Head of Veterinary Services, FCTA, Dr Regina Adulugba.
Dogs of various sizes and colours were brought to the event for free vaccination by members of the public.