A professional body of veterinarians, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), Lagos Chapter, has called on Nigerians to embrace vaccination of animals as a priority, whether they are pets kept for personal use or livestock reared for consumption.
Speaking recently as a guest speaker during the 2019 World Veterinary Day Clinical Seminar with the theme, “Value of Vaccination”, a member of the association and also Group Managing Director of the AMO Conglomerates, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, said vaccination would save lives of animals and also the lives of the humans around them.
“When you vaccinate your animals, you are actually protecting yourself because disease like rabies and some of the other diseases are in one way or the other, transmissible to humans,” said Oduntan, who also owns both Byng Nigeria Limited and Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited,
The veterinarian, who said he came into veterinary medicine so he could produce a lot of foods for a lot of people, posited that quacks thrive in the veterinary industry as a result of lapses in the profession.
He said, “We have to observe and make sure that we take very good care of our investors so that they do not resort to looking for cheaper alternatives, which are usually quacks. We also need to make sure that the practitioners within the industry stay committed and work for the right channels.”
Speaking further on how the association would tackle quackery, Oduntan said “First is to insist on establishing an entity of the claim of the profession and also bring the full weight of the law on quacks who are adding to the challenges of the farmers and pet owners around the country.”
Another practitioner, Dr. Kehinde Makinde said the veterinary profession has come of age and has been of great support to investors in livestock businesses especially in the poultry industry.
“These are great investments that they cannot do alone. Most times, if you don’t have the necessary support, you may end up wasting your resources and that is where the professional veterinarian comes in”, he added.
He explained: “Vaccination mainly is a preventive means ensuring that our livestock do not come down with diseases that could destroy the livestock. So, vaccination is highly valuable and so we are teaching our colleagues how best to go about it and to encourage investors to ensure that they vaccinate their animals regularly.”
He noted however that, for now, there were shortage of professional veterinarians to attend to the increasing number of investors in the livestock industry and that has brought about a wide gab.
“There has been wide gap in the farming industry because we do not have enough veterinarians in the country and at the same time many of the farmers are unable to access professional veterinarians.
“A number of the investors are not making best use of the opportunity they can get from the professionals. That is where the gap comes in and when we professionals make ourselves available, definitely, the farmers and investors would enjoy our services”, Makinde said.
The Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the association, Dr. Aroso Olufemi Joseph, encouraged members to promote professional ethics to guarantee sustained relevance in society.
He said: “We must protect the integrity of our profession by protecting our workforce in the civil service including those in the universities, research institutions and other institutions where veterinarians dispense their duties. They must be well remunerated for the onerous services they render to the society.”
He encouraged veterinarians to sail towards professionalism, adding, “we must train vets that will accord animal welfare a pride of place, imbibe entrepreneurship and be positioned for public health duties in the face of emerging and re-emerging diseases in man and animals. It thus means that we must improve the quality of veterinary education in its entirety”.