22.04.2005 General News

Veterinary week launched

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Accra, April 22, GNA - The Ghana Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) on Friday appealed to the Government to revisit the decentralization policy as being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to enable the Veterinary Services gain the required recognition, logistics and support for efficient operation.

Dr Enoch Koney, President of the Association, said the decentralization of the Agriculture Sector was detrimental to the provision of veterinary services, as it was losing most of its infrastructure and professional staff to other areas of the sector. Dr Koney, who was launching a weeklong celebration to mark World Veterinary Day in Accra, attributed the poor performance of the Service to the lack of adequate budgetary allocation as well as not having the mandate to operate effectively.

Activities of the week would include public awareness campaigns and television and radio educational programmes in English and the local languages and a workshop on public health and food safety. He explained that veterinary service went beyond the treatment of pets and that it also oversaw food safety and security starting from the farm or production areas including processing, transportation, storage and marketing.

Dr Koney condemned the way and manner meat was being handled and that if the service were solely put in charge of the processing it would ensure that meat for consumption became wholesome. Dr Koney called on Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to strictly enforce its byelaws on stray animals especially dogs to help minimize the spread of rabies.

He said an average of six rabies cases were quarantined in Accra every month.

He said the service recorded an average of 486 stray dogs with 430 dog bites cases out of which 47 tested positive for rabies, a situation which if not contained could be disastrous. Dr Koney called for intensified public education on the importance of vaccination and appealed to the Government to resource the Service and extend training programmes to motivate staff. 22 April 05

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