Dr Musa Mohammed, Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria (CVON), has tasked stakeholders in veterinary practice to develop a robust database on animal health that would improved food safety.
Mohammed made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the technical committee meeting for development of database on Veterinary Services and Trans-boundary Animal Diseases in Nigeria.
He said that such data provided good evidence on livestock health and gave more insights needed for disease prevalence and production burdens, incidence of zoonotic diseases, economic impacts of diseases and the costs and benefits of interventions.
“It will improve food safety and enhance food security and international trade in livestock products in the country.
“The technical meeting on the development of data base is critical to harness vast volumes of animal health-related data from live bird markets, livestock markets, abattoir, veterinary practices, livestock farms and other relevant sources.
“These data will be used for planning and implementation of intervention programmes from time to time,” he said.
Mohammed noted that the existence of volumes of data on animal health and veterinary sub-sector from live birds, livestock markets, veterinary practices, farms and laboratories could be used to identify animal health-related risks, risk mitigation and management.
According to him, such data can be used in monitoring livestock trades, development of animal disease emergency preparedness planning, disease reporting and proof of freedom from diseases.
Dr George Uzoaga, Head, Epidemiology Division, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services (DVPCS), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the transformation of animal health resources systems demanded new institutions and policy.
Uzoaga said it also demanded structural changes in existing institutions that generated, manage and disseminated agricultural information.
He said the new direction should be geared toward partnerships and collaboration arrangement between Federal, States, private, farmers associations and development partners.
The DVPCS head said there was urgent need to initiate mechanisms and processes that would develop a system of continuous generation, analysis and integration of data in the veterinary and livestock domain generally.
“To accelerate the process, there is an urgent need for a policy dialogue among stakeholders that will lead to development of appropriate strategies of investment in terms of finance and capacity to rapidly develop a database.
“The database will be called National Animal Health Resource Information System and will contain qualitative and quantitative information.
The meeting was organised by the National Animal Health Resources Information System and hosted by the DVPCS Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Participants were drawn from animal health related organisations which included the Veterinary Council of Nigeria, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, and National Veterinary Research Institute and VOM.
Others included Directors of Veterinary Services from selected states, Federal Epidemiology Officers from states and private veterinary practitioners. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)