Experts seek more diagnostic labs for animal healthcare

A report by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has revealed that livestock diseases present both economic and health dangers to developing countries, including Nigeria.

The Deputy Director General of ILRI, Dr. John McDermott has disclosed.According to him: “Wealthy countries are effectively dealing with livestock diseases, but in Africa and Asia, the capacity of veterinary services to track and control outbreaks is lagging dangerously behind livestock intensification.”

Also, Prof. Iruka Okeke, an expert in Pharmaceutical Microbiology, at the University of Ibadan recently lamented the limited diagnostic capacity in many African countries and its impact on global health security.Okeke spoke at the annual conference organised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP).

He said the common belief that some diseases disappear when closer to the equator might not mean that they did not occur.She said it was upsetting because it could also mean that those diseases are less diagnosed closer to the equator. “We cannot have a secure world if we cannot have pathogens and diseases diagnosed in the areas where they emerge,” she said.

The expert also emphasised the need for the establishment of more diagnostic laboratories with skilled professionals in African countries. According to the report, poultry farmers are often frustrated and dejected and at times lose hope in the industry, because many have lost humongous resources due to disease outbreak.It identified several diseases that plague the sector, adding that it is causing huge financial loss and indebtedness to poultry farmers.

Also, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said for a livestock business to be profitable, diseases must be effectively controlled and eradicated.He stated this at the commissioning of Chi Farm’s City Laboratory in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The minister said animal disease diagnosis is an important component of veterinary services, adding that Nigeria has laboratories that carry out animal disease diagnosis.They include the National Veterinary Research Institute, VOM and eleven (11No) Veterinary Teaching Hospitals (VTHs).Ogbeh admitted that a few private veterinary laboratories are operating at below their optimal levels, leading to huge gap in veterinary diagnostic services.

In this article:
Iruka OkekeJohn McDermott
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