What Animal Disease Outbreaks Say Of Our Public Health

Professor of Public Health, Tunde Awoniyi

Due to their lack of formal education, most Nigerian livestock farmers have little knowledge of the effect of poor hygiene on their livestock and the public. Thus they believe that disease outbreaks are more of spiritual attack than poor farm hygiene practices, which are mainly responsible for such incidents. This was the submission of Professor Tunde Awoniyi    while delivering the 83rd inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure. Speaking on the topic, ‘Public Health of Animal health: The impacts’, Awoniyi, a professor of public health and farm hygiene, stated that there is a relationship between animal health and public health as food borne diseases occur through consumption of food and drinking water which are contaminated by disease causing micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites which enter the body of food producing animals thus making them a public health threat.

Professor Tunde Awoniyi  Photo

Professor Tunde Awoniyi

He said the  contributions of animal health to the sustenance of public health is interwoven hence the need for adequate planning  and effective execution while establishing livestock farms in order to prevent outbreak of diseases through the consumption of contaminated foodstuffs and contacts with infected animals.  Awoniyi emphasized the need for proper hygiene at all the stages of production from the animal production phase to the meat processing phase in order to prevent or reduce the risk posed by these pathogenic organisms to public health.

On the way forward the lecturer posited that animal welfare as it is currently being emphasized by decision makers in the developed world must have its place in the animal management practice of the African sub region adding that sustainable food animal production practices that protect human health must be taken into consideration. The lecturer harped on the importance of the establishment if an appropriate biotechnology centre  to control  pollution generated by livestock especially poultry manure which is  very beneficial when converted to  useful products like organic fertilizer, livestock feed and biogas. Awoniyi appealed to the Federal Government to commit more  financial resources to establish standard mechanized abattoirs like that of Ondo state in strategic centres from where wholesome meat can be taken to the nooks and crannies of the country.  He  stated that due consideration must be given to the establishment of  well-funded  and equipped laboratory to compliment the diagnostic expertise of the meat inspection officers in in order to reduce loss by way of inappropriate condemnation of meat or disease transmission through meat mistakenly passed during inspection.
Speaking at the lecture Chairman of the occasion, the Vice Chancellor Professor Adebiyi Daramola represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Professor Tunde Arayela described the lecturer as an astute scholar who has contributed immensely to the academic, especially in his field of specialization. Professor Daramola said Awoniyi is a distinguished professor who has been consistently productive and an asset to the university since his assumption of duty in FUTA.
Dignitaries at the event cut across the academic, professional, community and religious leaders, staff and students of the university.

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