Unhygienic, Horrible State Of Abattoirs In Abuja Promotes Spread Of Lassa Fever—Expert | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Unhygienic, Horrible State Of Abattoirs In Abuja Promotes Spread Of Lassa Fever—Expert

Posted: Feb 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chibuzor Emejor

Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of  Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Dr. Markus Avong, has raised  an alarm that poor, unhygienic and horrible state of abattoirs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) could fuel the incidences of the outbreak of Lassa fever in the Territory.
In an exclusive interview with Independent Newspapers in Abuja, Avong  raised several issues of health concerns for Abuja residents who daily patronise and consume large chunks of meat produced from these slaughter slabs.

He expressed sadness on the sorry state of abattoirs in the FCT and the health implication of consuming poorly treated meat by majority of residents.
He noted that if an abattoir was dirty and unhygienic, it would attract rats which could contaminate the meat meant for human consumption.
He also lamented that Abuja does not have a state-of-art-abattoir and as a result, the territory lacks a standard in the production and processing of meat, adding that “abattoirs are operated in open places infested with flies and maggots, with flies infested tables and faulty scales for measuring meat for consumers.”
It would be recalled that recently the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole announced the death of a Lassa fever victim who died at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Adewole while announcing the incident, also called on health workers at all levels to be more vigilant and look out for patients with symptoms of Lassa fever in the Territory.
The Minister has directed that all primary and secondary contacts of the victim should be tracked including the members of staff of the private hospital in Kubwa where the deceased was first managed for one week and subsequently became unconscious before referral to National Hospital.
He also advised that family members should report at the nearest hospital if anyone has fever for more than two days
The Minister, however, called on the residents of Abuja not to panic but maintain a high level of vigilance and present themselves for a test if they feel unhealthy or feel the symptoms of Lassa fever which include high fever, stooling, tiredness, vomiting, adding that self-medication should be avoided during this period.
Also, the Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria further decried a situation where the chunks of the meat consumed in Nigeria does not pass through rigorous inspection by certified veterinary experts due to shortage of qualified professionals.
According to him, in some states in Nigeria and FCT, there are only about five registered veterinary surgeons, adding that the services of the veterinary doctors are grossly inadequate in most states.
“The veterinary personnel are very few. There is a state in Nigeria that has only three registered veterinarians in its employment”.
Therefore, he called on the FCT Administration to employ more veterinarians for effective inspection of meat across the Territory.
He also condemned the current practice where community health inspectors are allowed to inspect meat, noting that it’s only the veterinarians that are statutorily mandated to carry out meat inspection.
Avong further called for the enactment of National Law on Abattoir Management, adding that the Local Government Areas, according 1999 Constitution, are saddled with responsibility of running abattoirs.