75% of human infectious diseases originate from animals

Acting Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Dr Ezenwa Nwakonobi, has revealed that about 75 percent of human infectious diseases originate from animals. .

Nwakonobi said this at the 4th convocation and 6th investiture ceremonies of the College Veterinary Surgeons of Nigeria held on Saturday in Abuja. 

He said animals can carry harmful germs, such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses which are shared with humans and cause illness.

Nwakonobi noted that there is a connection between the life of a human and animal.

He said: “75 percent of human diseases come from animals, if we are able to control the disease in animals, humans are protected, but people don’t know that connection in this part of the world.

“Our job is the protection of human health through the prevention of disease in animals”.

In his remarks, the keynote speaker, Professor Oyewale Tomori,  said the veterinary profession has not been fully utilised in Nigeria as veterinarians have not shown versatility in their training.

The Professor of virology and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University, Ede, said veterinarians are constrained by perceptions of people who see them as people who deal with just ‘mere’ animals.

According to him, the work of a veterinarian  is much more than that of animals.

“In terms of epidemic and outbreak of most diseases, most of the diseases come from animals, instead of making use of the veterinarians who know more about those diseases , we are using the human doctors who have little knowledge about animal diseases which are transmitted.

At the event, the college awarded fellowship status to 286 veterinarians at the Convocation and Investiture Ceremonies held in Abuja on Saturday.

The awardees who were part of the graduates between a period of three years of 2018, 2019 and 2021 are drawn from different faculty of the Institute.

According to the Provost of the College Prof. Jarlath U. Umoh, the new fellows include 84 in Medicine, 58 Pathologists, 102 in Public Health and medicine, and 42 in Surgery.

Umoh said the programmes of the College are aimed at professional development and that they are robust so as to accommodate varying backgrounds in the specialty areas. 

“Some residents entered the programme with first degree, some with higher degrees and some even as professors.  Because of the varying entry qualifications, some may find the programmes too difficult while others find them too easy. 

“Please note that the programmes are for discipline in the profession.  The Fellowship is for professional development and is not to be equated with a PhD as veterinarians with PhD degrees enroll and participate as residents in the programmes.

“The curricula of the programmes have been reviewed to introduce new areas of specialization. Presently, there are 258 residents enrolled in the programmes of the College.  In addition, 92 veterinarians have been admitted into the programmes of the College and are yet to assume studies.

“Central examinations were introduced as one of the quality control measures.  The College found out that moving from one centre to another is creating some resistance and has decided that from now on all examinations shall take place at Abuja,” he said.