In bid to ensuring that the deadly infectious disease, Rabies is kept from infecting humans, the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with Oyo State Branch of Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association officially flagged off Free-Anti Rabies Vaccination in the state.
The flagging off which took place in commemoration of the World Rabies Day, themed: Rabies: One Health, Zero Deaths was held at the State Veterinary Hospital Complex at Mokola, Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
While giving the opening address, the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer and the State Epidemiology Officer, Ministry Of Agriculture And Rural Development, Oyo State, Dr Abimbola Ladapo said it is high time that dog owners took responsibilities of their dogs’ welfare.
He demanded that dog should be kept under proper control and prevented from attacking human beings.
He said: “The Oyo State Amended Dogs law of 2000, and the Dogs laws of 2020 as revised enumerate the responsibilities, liabilities and obligations of dog owners and members of the public or victims of dog attacks at large.
“I implore all dog owners to be conversant with this law by obtaining a copy of the law so as to be aware of the responsibilities and liabilities in cases of litigation.
“Hence, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is bringing this allocation of considerable quantities of vaccines to the state, preventing and mitigating the incidence of rabies in dog population in Oyo State.”
He further stated that the executive Governor of Oyo State has approved the flag off of free mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign in Oyo state in commemoration of World Rabies Day marked every 28th September.
While giving her remark, the Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Oyo state, Dr. Layide Azeez, said rabies elimination exemplifies the one health approach, with participation and collaboration from human, animal, and environmental sectors, which will help achieve zero deaths from rabies.
She said: “Rabies is a highly fatal disease that is transmissible through bite of an infected dog to man and records 99 percent fatality.
“However, this disease is 100 percent preventable through mass dog vaccination. Today’s topic enlightenment campaign is aimed to bring awareness to dog owners, dog breeders, hunters and the entire public that Oyo state government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is commencing free mass Anti Rabies vaccination campaign.”
She also stated that the major objective of the campaign is to ensure total well being in alignment with global mandate and Oyo state Dog Law for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.
She affirmed that the free mass vaccination will be made available in all local government areas and local council development areas.
Delivering his speech on, ‘One Health: Achieving Zero Human Death From Rabies Through Vaccination Of Dogs’, the Chairman, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Oyo State Branch, Dr Moses Arokoyo said Rabies is a vaccine preventable viral zoonotic disease which is very preventable.
He said: “Rabies is very preventable if the vaccine is given to the dog. However, if a rabies dog bite an human, one will be down with rabies. Rabies records 99 percent fatality which could lead to death.
“There’s is Dog Law 2020 that says if your dog bites someone and the person dies, you are liable to six month imprisonment. The same amended dog law also state that when you keep a dog for three months without license issued by the authority, you shall be guilty of an offence. The Dog laws states that it is compulsory to get a dog vaccinated against communicable disease part of which includes Rabies.”
Dr Arokoyo further gave the fatality statistics that has been recorded for rabies.
He said: “59,000 people die every year due to rabies, 144 people die every day, while one person die every ten minutes. Over 8.6 billion dollar is spent every year because of rabies. And again, statistics has shown that 40 percent of those bitten by dogs are below 50 years of age.”
Meanwhile, he urged the dog owners, breeders and dog fanciers to bring their dogs for vaccination so as to avoid fatalities.
He urged the public to join the joint approach towards rabies elimination – or “Zero Deaths”, in line with the “Zero by 30: Global Strategic Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.
Meanwhile, World Rabies Day is the biggest event on the global rabies calendar, coordinated by GARC and it has been commemorated every year on September 28.
The free mass vaccination campaign in Oyo state is set to be a continuous activity, as dog owners are expected to take their dogs to Government approved centers.
Present at the flag off included Veterinary Doctors, Animal Health Technologists, Dog Owners, Dog Breeders, Dog Fanciers, Dogs brought for Anti-Rabies Vaccination, among others.