We at Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa believe that Nigeria should drive a more proactive management approach to the control of Avian influenza epizootics. Nigeria is a potentially high-risk target country vulnerable to Avian influenza possible annual or biannual outbreak (February-April).
The country is a target hob to three out of the four migratory birds routes from South East Asia which are countries that had reportedly reported consistent epizootics.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture should by now have a revisable AI risk map for all the states in the federation. We believe, in LIFA, that commitment of budget to Vom Research Institute and many schools of veterinary college epidemiology department can syndicate on research zero epidemiological studies of carrier birds like ducks and the migrating birds who have some resting locations to quantify positive indexes on state level to seropositive cases to AI antigen of either H5NI or H5N8 which have been conclusively identified in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.
Incidentally, these are congruent countries of common food security and insurgency, and who also derive common benefit from the receding lake chard basin.
We have consistently advocated in LIFA the near impossibility of many developing countries with fragile revenue or countries relying on oil as a monolithic resource to rely singularly on stamping out strategy and enhanced biosecurity as their Avian influenza preventive strategy of No Vaccination slogan.
Nigeria found it difficult to compensate for the losses if 3 million birds ascribed to AI between 2006, 2008 and up to date, except for the effort of the previous Poultry Association of Nigeria under the able leadership of Dr. Odutan and the indefatigable Director general who were able to secure the sympathy of the Buhari led government for a significant compensation of the long-delayed payment, even after some of the farmers had lost hope or suffered serious health challenges.
Why must a farmer doing business secure high interest loan to fund capital and working capital. Be comfortable to wait on faith for outbreak not to strike his flock and hope to be compensated by a government with a revenue decline.
We believe that government should create enabling environment for recently technologically suitable and friendly supported vaccination synergy to be adopted in many developing countries of the South Sahara Africa including Nigeria.
The OIE policy declaration on no vaccination had become more proactive by adopting a mixed strategy option for the control of AI epizootiology Eminent Scientists, like Ilara Capua of OIE, believed that reliance only on stamping out and biosecurity is no more a popular option to the management of Avian influenza epizootics, and concluded that heterologous killed vaccines could be used together with other biosecurity measures to control this disease.
The fear of the delay and non payment of prompt compensation to farmers often resulted in the fear to report this noticeable diseases of poultry or engage in panicky sales of unhealthy birds to the public.
The initial conservative estimate of market loss to Avian influenza last estimated by poultry Association of Nigeria was in the magnitude of 14 billion Nira, while individual farms that suffered millions of Nairamarket loss within the short duration of outbreaks are found across the nation.
Our recommendation in LIFA is for government to support a situation study of the disease in Nigeria as suggested earlier. Government must instruct and fund research by Vom and universities on the suitability of new varieties of vaccines now been successfully used in other Asian countries and some regions in Europe on their immunogenicity and the lesser risk of shedding the vaccines in litter, a situation that may not be possible with killed homologous or heterologous vaccines.
Government should allow the Directorate of veterinary services to identify any suitable heterologous vaccine from research outcome that must be imported to Nigeria. These approved strains must be the legal strain approved for Nigeria and any other strain become illegal for importation. NAFDAC must only approved for importation only vaccines that meet the prescribed criteria of the ministry of agriculture of the Directorate of veterinary services.
DIVA 200 a technique for differentiating infected from vaccinated birds should be a readily available diagnostic tool for monitoring and for screening of transport birds from one location to another and for transboundary phytosanitary measures eg across the EATP (Expanded Africa Trade Promotion) boundary movement
The opinion expressed here is that of the founder of livestock industry foundation for Africa and the NGO and not any other organization. Please also note that Dr. Adejoro does not import nor sell vaccine but only driven by passion I and our NGO slogan of let us develop livestock food security of South Sahara Africa together is driving or zeal in LIFA.
In conclusion, since other forms of vaccination in poultry of which some even are zoonotic like Newcastle diseases that could be fatal to birds and which can cause conjunctivitis Inman is not controlled by the stamping out policy. Government should allow farmers take up sole responsibility of preventing this disease through strict biosecurity, regulated vaccination (especially the premium birds) and by insurance like that of other fatal diseases of poultry.