FG insists no vaccination policy to curtail ravaging bird flu
The Federal Government has said it will not succumb to calls from stakeholders to introduce vaccines to curtail the devastating effect of Avian Influenza also known as bird flu in the poultry industry.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Abubakar Mohammed, while speaking at a ministerial briefing on the “No vaccination” policy for the control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, said it is important that the government maintain a no vaccination policy, for now, owing to the inability of the government to effectively regulate the poultry industry..
According to him, the government has put in measures to detect the disease and stamp it out, saying if the method is working it won’t be okay to outrightly discard such practice.
He said: “The status-quo on vaccination policy against HPAI in Nigeria remains and as such, ‘No vaccination’ against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza’ in Nigeria for now. However, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is committed to the control and possible eradication of avian influenza in Nigeria.”
In recent times, poultry farmers have raised concern over the deadly effect of the Avian influenza that has been depleting the poultry population with severe negative economic consequences on the livelihood of our poultry farmers.
The minister recalled that following the resurgence of HPAI in 2014, poultry farmers and other stakeholders, who desperately wished to stop the cycle of the disease called for a reconsideration of the no-vaccination policy and the calls have resurfaced again for the same reasons.
He added that since 2006 when the country recorded her first outbreak of HPAI in a farm in Kaduna State, the Federal Government with the support of the World Bank and other development partners intervened in different ways to ensure prompt and effective prevention and control of the disease and one of such interventions was the formulation of a policy on prevention and control of HPAI bordering on Modified Stamping Out and No Vaccination strategy.
He said the government will further strengthen the approach to stop the circulation of the HPAI virus in the environment and mitigate losses to poultry farmers. In addition, the National Preparedness and Contingency Plan for the control of HPAI in Nigeria to strengthen the control measures and regulation of the poultry industry was reviewed
The Director of Veterinary and Pest Control service Dr. Columba Teru Vakuru recalled that when Nigeria recorded the first outbreak farmers were ready to change attitudinally, the political will was also there and resources was deployed simultaneously unto the field such that the disease was eradicated and Nigeria was certified by the World Animal Health organization.
He said that unfortunately, along the way, several people got into the industry and it became difficult to keep regulations and that was why they could not sustain the huge success recorded during the first outbreak
He mentioned that to further curtail the outbreak, the ministry is collaborating with stakeholders along the value chain adding that it is important to ensure compliance with basic hygienic practices across the poultry value chain. He said “If the poultry industry is properly regulated, it will be easy to ensure that whoever is coming into the industry key into the laid down rules and regulations.
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