NVMA EXPRESS CONCERN OVER HIGH DEATH RATE OCCURING FROM RABIES
Recently, Imo State joined the rest of the world to celebrate Rabies Day with the theme: Vaccinate to Eliminate. The event which took place at the State Veterinary Centre, Owerri, had pet owners and other stakeholders who came in their numbers with their dogs and cats to grace the occasion.
In his speech, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Emma Nwaogu commended members of the Nigeria Veterinary Medicine Association (NVMA) for their efforts in sensitizing pet owners on the need for timely vaccination of their domestic dogs and cats against rabies and assured that government would support the association to scale up awareness.
Hon. Nwaogu disclosed that the State Government has made budgetary provisions to revitalize and equip the state owned veterinary clinics to give optimal services to the people. He also appealed to pet owners to ensure that their animals are vaccinated against rabies.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr (Mrs) Irene Chima who is equally a Veterinary Doctor, commended the State Governor, Chief Emekalhedioha for the interest he has shown towards promoting and improving livestock production in the state. She appealed to the government to engage the services of more Veterinary Doctors to achieve adequate health for animals in the state.
The State Chairman, Nigeria Veterinary Medicine Association, Dr. Chijioke Alugbuo, said the World Rabies Day Celebration is an annual event that brings together partners and stakeholders to highlight difficulties, progress and efforts being made towards eradication of rabies. He regretted that, while rabies is 100% preventable, about 59,000 people die of rabies annually around the globe, with Africa and Asia recording 95% of the cases.
Dr. Alugbuo revealed that domestic dogs are the most common reservoir of the virus, with more than 99% of human deaths caused by dog mediated rabies. He pointed out that the disease is not treatable but can be eliminated from the human and animal race through prompt, regular and mandatory vaccination policy.
The NVMA Chairman therefore appealed to people who keep dogs and other pets to ensure prompt vaccination of their animals; while equally reminding all that it was a punishable offence to keep dog(s) without vaccinating them against rabies. Highlight of the event was the free vaccination for dogs at the venue of the event.