We are delighted to announce our collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in Oyo State on anthrax preparedness in response to the outbreak of the disease in Suleja, Niger State on 17th July 2023.
Anthrax is a fatal zoonotic disease which affects domestic and wild animals. It is caused by a bacterium known as Bacillus anthracis which occurs naturally in the soil. This disease can be transmitted to humans if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Although fatal, anthrax can be treated and controlled through increased awareness of anthrax among farmers and the public, early detection of the disease, prompt treatment with antibiotics, and prevention through vaccination.
Due to its mortality rate in animals, anthrax can lead to severe loss of livestock and significant economic losses thus impacting livelihoods. In humans, it can cause severe illness, lead to health complications, and sometimes death. These impacts are often pronounced in rural communities with poor knowledge of anthrax, poor biosecurity in farms, and reduced access to vaccines and affordable veterinary services.
Our collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Services of the FMARD in Oyo State will aid such communities by providing free veterinary services to farms with animals at risk of contracting anthrax, and educating people on the disease and its prevention. This will be coupled with a social media campaign via our social media channels to increase our reach and awareness efforts.
Through these efforts, we will impact rural communities in Oyo state with a high number of cattles by:
- Creating awareness in these communities on anthrax, its causes, transmission, and prevention measures using IEC Materials in collaboration with the Oyo State Veterinary Service Department.
- Conducting social media campaigns and awareness
- And a free vaccination drive for 20,000 cattle in Iseyin, in collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Services, Oyo State.
These efforts are expected to lead to an increase in awareness on anthrax, a change in livestock handling practices to lower anthrax risk, timely reporting of animal illnesses to veterinary authorities, and the reduction of anthrax prevalence in animals, hence lowering risks of human infections. It will also facilitate strengthened community involvement and resilience against anthrax outbreaks.