Investigation/ kwara
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq

Anthrax: Kwara Gov’t Activates ‘One-Health’ Approach to Stem Outbreak

The Kwara State Government says it has activated a One-Health System Programme with key ministries and stakeholders to stem the outbreak of anthrax disease.

The Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Health Dr. Abubakar Ayinla, said this on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

The one-Health concept is a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach meant to achieve optimal health outcomes by recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

Dr. Ayinla noted that there were collaborative efforts between the ministries of Agriculture, Health and Environment to ensure they worked together as a team to control any eventual outbreak of the disease.

According to him, various veterinary clinics have also been activated to ensure people have access to veterinary healthcare.

“The government has put in place some necessary veterinary clinics around Zango, Kulende area, Al-Hikma University and Adeta veterinary services to address the challenges that can occur,” he added.

Dr. Ayinla said before the outbreak of anthrax in a multi-species animal farm in Gajiri, Suleja Local Government of Niger State, the Kwara government was mindful of its international borders with other countries.

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“The government was aware of its international borders at Chikanda, where people bring cattle into the country. We engaged and sensitised butchers on ensuring they slaughter healthy animals for consumption.

“They were also sensitised on symptoms of anthrax disease and the necessary contacts to make,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary said anthrax is caused by a spore-forming bacterium, which mainly affects animals, adding that humans could become infected through contact with an infected animal or by inhaling the spores.

He warned people to avoid eating cowhide (ponmo), saying that the rod-shaped bacterium known as Bacillus anthracis is heat resistant.

According to him, people risk contracting the disease “if they think they can kill the bacteria through cooking.”

He said the state government is also strengthening additional strategy on tuberculosis to ensure that the environmental team assigned to abattoirs are active on adequate refuse disposal.

“We advise the general public that anthrax is no longer a joke; it’s already with us and we must prioritize healthy animals for human consumption.

“People should immediately access health facilities if they observe sores, blisters or painless wounds on their bodies,” Ayinla said.