The Kaduna State Government, on Wednesday began a four-week Anti-Rabies vaccination campaign to curb the menace of rabies in the state.
Mallam Sabiu Sani, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, while inaugurating the campaign, said the vaccination was aimed at promoting awareness on how to prevent and control the disease in communities.
Represented by Habiba Bello, Director, Livestock Regulatory Agency of the ministry, Sani said the state government has taken seriously rabies which is a zoonotic disease owing to its high fatality rate.
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According to him, 6,250 vaccines would be administered to dogs in the four zones of the state – Zaria, Kafanchan, Sminaka and Kaduna central.
“This will be achieved by fixing outposts vaccination centres using our clinics and field officers across the state,’’ he said.
Sani said that the 6,250 vaccines were donated by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to the state Ministry of Agriculture.
The vaccines were donated to the state ahead of the campaign to be administered.
In his remarks, Dr Pakachi Zakariya, the Director, Veterinary and Livestock Services, said the state government had prioritised human health hence the need to ensure good animal health.
“There are hunters whose livelihoods and security depends on dogs in various communities and they have no access to veterinary services.
“This is one of the reasons the state trained community Animal Health Workers to cover the 23 LGA of the state,’’ he said.
Zakariya called on stakeholders to support with resources, the efforts geared towards eradicating rabies in Nigeria.
Also, Dr Olaniran Alabi, Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, noted that an estimated 70,000 people die globally of rabies annually.
He said that less than five per cent of dogs are vaccinated in Nigeria due to the high cost of the vaccine.
Alabi who was represented by Dr Timkat Nanfang, Kaduna state Coordinator in the ministry, said that the disease was transmitted through the bite of an infected animal or man.
According to him, the disease has 99 per cent fatality if efficient post-exposure prophylaxis treatment was not instituted early.
He attributed the constraints in the control of the disease in Nigeria to the fact that majority of dogs were unlicensed, unvaccinated and allowed to roam freely in the communities.
“Dog-to-human population ratio is high as dogs are increasingly being bred and used for hunting, security and companionship purposes among others.
“In Nigeria, it has been reported that less than five per cent of dogs are vaccinated due to the high cost of the vaccine.
“As a result of the increase in the number of cases globally and the impact on public health, the tripartite collaboration of WHO, OIE and FAO set an agenda for the eradication of dog-mediated human rabies by the year 2030.
“In our effort to achieve this global target, the department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services sought for additional international support and OIE responded by donating 200,000 doses of Anti-Rabies Vaccine (ARV) to the country.
"This is to assist the state in the control of rabies,” he said.