In a bid to prevent the spread of rabies from pets to humans, the Akwa Ibom government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has launched the National Anti-Rabies campaign.
Addressing stakeholders during the campaign, which took place at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat Complex field, Uyo, the commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Offiong Offor, enlisted the cooperation of stakeholders for the eradication of the menace in the state.
Offor noted that the event was aimed at accessing a viable remedy to curb the spread of rabies in human and in animal species in the state.
She reasoned that the occasion was purposefully designed to be inclusive, uniting people, organisations and stakeholders across all sectors against rabies, since a concerted effort is required to eliminate the viral disease.
Offor revealed that available statistical data points to dogs as contributing to 99 per cent of rabies infections in humans, causing thousands of deaths yearly, particularly in Africa and Asia.
According to her, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, have vigorously pursued the goal of eliminating rabies, through campaigns and accompanying practical measures with a global target of “zero human rabies deaths by 2030”.
The commissioner explained that, based on the threat to life by this incurable viral disease, the Akwa Ibom State Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), has flagged-off the campaign to stem the spread of the viral disease.
Her words: “Let me commend Gov Udom Emmanuel for the various empowerment programmes for farmers in the State. I also appreciate the minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, for partnering the State to prevent the spread of rabies,” she remarked.
Offor disclosed that the exercise will be conducted between August 17, 2022 and October 15, 2022, covering a period of two months, in all out-stations across the 31 local government areas of the State, free-of-charge, adding that the members of the public are expected to vaccinate their dogs, cats, monkeys and other rabies prone animals.
In her remarks, the permanent secretary, Mrs. Mary Bassey, appreciated Gov Udom Emmanuel for approving the conduct of the exercise, adding that Akwa Ibom was number one in practical agriculture.
Bassey commended all for identifying with the campaign against rabies and called for more support for the programme to succeed in the State.
Earlier, the director, Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the Ministry, Dr. Obot Obot, had said the gathering was an opportunity to liberate our pets and human lives from the viral disease.
Obot urged all Akwa Ibom people to participate in vaccinating their pets at the veterinary clinics in the out-stations in all the local government areas of the state, bearing in mind that rabies is an incurable disease.
The director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) for Akwa Ibom, Dr. Uyobong Uko, explained that the year 2022 World Rabies Day Campaign, with the theme: “One Health, Zero Death,” was targeted at achieving 70 percent vaccination of the dogs population in society.
Uko, who commended the Akwa Ibom government, the Federal Government and the World Health Organization (WHO) for working in collaboration for the elimination of the viral disease, advised dog owners to spread the message of vaccination to others for the exercise to be successful.
In their separate goodwill messages, the consultant, Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), Dr Edem Offiong and a dog owner, Yvonne Adams, in their separate remarks, lauded the state government for the timely conduct of the vaccination exercise.
They commended the agric commissioner for the pivotal role she played in bringing the exercise to fruition and promised to reach out to dog owners to avail themselves of the opportunity for their dogs to be vaccinated in the State.
The exercise featured the symbolic inoculation of dogs by Dr. Offiong Offor and the presentation of certificates, as prove of the immunisation exercise to benefiting dog owners.
Directors of the Ministry of Agriculture, zonal directors of Veterinary in the ministry, marketing manager, Ibom FADAMA Microfinance Bank, Mr. Bassey Essien, veterinary doctors from across the 31 local government areas, farmer groups, among others, witnessed the event.