In view of the recent devastation of Avian Influenza in the poultry industry, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Louise Setshwaelo has called for increased robust measures of surveillance and control to be put in place, in order to stem the threat posed to the Nation’s food security by the outbreak.
She made the disclosure in Jos at a two-day training workshop for disease surveillance agents, implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), proper use of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), sample collection, preservation and shipment to the laboratory organized by Federal Department of Veterinary Services (FDVS), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
According to her, the return of the Avian Influenza to Nigeria after 10 years of absence if not effectively halted as recommended in the country’s preparedness and response plan, it may become endemic.
Outlining the danger posed by the outbreak, she noted that the resurgence of avian influenza in the country has serious implications given the importance of the poultry industry to the livelihood of the nation, food security as well as health implications.
“The Nigerian plan to control this disease is known and available, thus continued preparedness of the country to respond in event of any epidemic in Nigeria is very critical. Key in this equation is the capacity of the animal health service personnel at the national and sub-national levels to be able to act swiftly to contain the disease.”
Dr. Setshwaelo stated that the FAO will continue to partner and support government not only to control and eradicate avian influenza but also control trans-boundary animal diseases.
Furthermore, she emphasized the need for such training workshops noting that as disease situations continue to be dynamic, re-tooling of the skills of the over 591 surveillance agents in the country was very critical in order to provide effective disease detection and control system.
In the same vein, Director of Disease Surveillance in Plateau State, Doris Bitrus appealed to the federal government to pay compensation to poultry farmers who lost their birds as a result of the outbreak of the disease in the state.