The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has called on the federal government to extend special palliatives to poultry and livestock feed millers by giving them access to grains in the National Strategic Grains Reserve to preserve our poultry and livestock resources at this difficult time.
The National President, Professor Bello Muhammed Agaie, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, while commending the efforts of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, said government should also consider providing stimulus packages and social safety net for animal sector value chain actors to cushion them against the impact of COVID — 19 lockdown.
Commending the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for bringing on board the BSL-3 Laboratory of the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, Plateau State as one of the network of laboratories to handle laboratory confirmation of suspected cases of this infection, saying this indeed, is in line with global best practices and spirit of “One Health” that have brought together health.
“With the quality and quantity of manpower and state-of-the-art facilities at the NVRI, this engagement, we believe is worthwhile and will save the nation scarce resources that are required at this critical moment for many other activities in support of curtailing this infection.”
He said the government should speed up the process of procuring adequate and sufficient WHO approved COVID- 19 test kits and reagents to enhance the work of the accredited laboratories across the country and bring on board if need be quickly additional laboratories for testing.
He said as these laboratories could serve as the foundation for laboratory diagnosis of other viral hemorrhagic fevers that have become intractable in the country for decades post COVID —19.
“Government at all levels should continue to roll out palliatives efficiently and transparently to support citizens to stay at home as long as the lock-down last and work out modalities to get businesses back to work as soon as possible without much financial shock.
“We wish to assure the Government and indeed all Nigerians that Veterinarians in Nigeria remain committed to playing their roles in this circumstance and would continue to engage and support all stakeholders where our expertise is required.
We also want to commend the government for considering public and private veterinary and key animal production services as essential services and urge it to develop holistic protocol for facilitating safe movement of animals, animal products and feeds and other veterinary inputs (drugs and vaccines) within the country during this period.
“We commend our colleagues (Professionals) in the Nigerian Health Sector for their patriotism and doggedness in the fight against COVID 19 despite some infrastructural and operational challenges and support any effort by Government to enhance their welfare and safety in the face of this risk,” he said.