The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association in Lagos has advised the state government to give attention to meat processing across the state, saying this will not only ensure improved health for residents, it will also help to reduce expenditure on health.
The association stressed that the billions of naira budgeted for the health sector in the 2018 appropriation bill could be reduced significantly if due diligence was paid to meat processing and hygiene in the state.
A statement by the Lagos State Chairman of NVMA, Dr. Alao Mobolaji, on Monday noted that the association had witnessed an abysmal and unhygienic processing of meat and meat products in the state, including cattle still being slaughtered on bare floors near canals or sewage, and restaurant owners slaughtering animals without any professional inspection or supervision.
Mobolaji said all these anomalies had, in no small measure, compromised public health safety to a great extent.
He maintained that the practices would always escalate government’s spending on health, pointing out that a number of fatal diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, leptospirosis and salmonellosis (typhoid fever) could be contacted from unhygienic handling of meat and meat products.
He said, “Of the 1,415 disease-causing pathogens known to man, 61 per cent of them are known to affect both man and animals, which means they are zoonotic in nature.
“Currently, Nigeria is ranked fourth in the world, behind India, Indonesia and China, with the highest cases of tuberculosis based on a 2016 report of the World Health Organisation.
“According to the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, over 600,000 new cases of tuberculosis occurred in Nigeria from a global report for 2014.
“The organism, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is known to be responsible for this highly fatal disease in man. Cattle and pig are major sources of the disease in man.”
Mobolaji advised Nigerians to always insist on buying only hygienically processed and packaged meat, while also urging government to ban non-supervised slaughtering of meat animals, and to engage the service of more veterinarians.
He noted that the 24 veterinarians in the employment of the Lagos State Government could not supervise about 6,000 cattle, excluding sheep, goats and pigs, being slaughtered in the state daily.
Nigerian Medicals News