By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri
The Imo State free mass vaccination against anthrax disease outbreak recently flagged off in the state has been taken to the rural communities in different Local Government Areas of the State.
The state team comprising veterinary doctors from the Ministry of Livestock Development and private veterinarians in the State made up the team of medical experts carrying out the preventive exercise.
Information released from the ministry of Livestock Development, indicated that the vaccination exercise has reached the following Ngor-Okpala, Owerri North, Owerri West, Ohaji Egbema and Aboh Mbaise LGAs that have the highest concentration of livestock farmers in the state.
Dr Anthony Mgbeahuruike, the Commissioner in charge of the ministry, the team will be moving to other local government areas that have not been visited in the coming weeks.
Mgbeahuruike disclosed that several Imo people including the Hausas/Fulani community have cattle in large numbers and they are in huge livestock businesses hence the need to prevent the outbreak of the dreaded Anthrax disease in the state.
He said, “These businesses are located in the remote villages of the state. This is contrary to our earlier thinking that livestock businesses in Imo state are at rudimental stages.”
“The Hausa communities were not left out. Most of the Hausa cattle herders visited by the teams brought out a large number of cows for the free vaccination exercise. Their joy knew no bounds; they were shouting and praising the governor for giving attention to their animals and Livestock business.”
The commissioner expressed joy that the governor was magnanimous enough to fight the anthrax disease outbreak for the interest of the state by approving free mass vaccination of grazing animals for Imo people. They have decided to give that magnanimity a boost by putting in their professional expertise to avert the likely entrance of the disease into the state.
The commissioner, Dr Tony Mgbeahuruike, who is a veterinary expert, has advised his team on the need to use one stone to kill two birds in this vaccination exercise.
He also encouraged the team to use the opportunity of their visits to these livestock farmers to carry out enumeration of livestock farmers in the state for possible future government intervention programmes with livestock farmers in Imo state.
According to him, every livestock farm in the state should be counted, the location and the owner known and documented by the Ministry for record purposes.
During the medical tours, indigenes of the communities visited expressed gratitude for the free vaccination exercise and pledged their support to Governor Hope Uzodimma in his reelection bid pointing out that no government has ever extended this kind of magnanimity to livestock farmers in the state in the recent past.