A veterinary doctor, Dr Muhammad Bala has urged the federal and state governments to provide a minimum of two ambulances for veterinary services in the 774 local government areas in the country.
Bala, former Chairman, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), FCT Chapter, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that the measure would ensure effective veterinary services to contain the spread of zoonotic disease.
Describing ambulatory services as the backbone of veterinary practice, the veterinarian said that availability of well equipped ambulances would aid in the delivery of quality veterinary drugs, treatment and vaccination promptly to farmers and as well as safeguard public health.
Bala said that ideally every LGAs are supposed to benefit from an integrated extension services with veterinarian playing a key role in animal health and production services.
“Agriculture is the bedrock of our economy and therefore I call on government at national and sub national levels to support veterinary doctors with at least two ambulatory vehicles par local government area to enable veterinary doctors reach out to farmers and their livestock,’’ he said.
Citing the FCT as an example, the veterinarian disclosed that at the moment only one ambulance was functional , describing the current situation as inimical to animal health and unhealthy for health and wellbeing of the populace.
Bala, who identified non availability of ambulances for veterinary services as a major challenge in the profession, appealed to the federal and state governments for support in providing ambulances to assist veterinary doctors in carrying out their duties.
“In FCT for instance you can hardly boast of two ambulatory vehicles at the moment when each of the area councils are supposed to have two each for us to reach out to farmers and livestock come rain come shine.
“Ambulatory services are the backbone of veterinary practice. Veterinarians in area councils need to be supported with ambulances, a lot of these vehicles must be equip with working gadget for effective delivery of veterinary services.
“Such measure will go a long way in stemming the spread of diseases as well as herder-farmer clashes.
`Also we need to identify where all these farmers are so that government can profile them and then you are able to separate those making this trouble from the good larger ones that are contributing to the economic development,’’ he said.
According to Bala, while one can carry small animals like cat, dogs to vet clinics for veterinary attention, but you cannot bring the cattle, sheep, goats and pigs to the clinic.
“We need to provide the pastoralists with drugs, vaccines and other services to guarantee settling these animals in farms known to government and their host communities.
“This will not only be an impetus to diseases prevention and control, but also a solution to incessant clashes with crop farmers,” he said.