Experts have warned of what they describe as “conspiracy of silence” as people continue to die of rabies and nobody is speaking about it.
This concern was raised in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 6th International Conference on Rabies in West Africa.
The president-elect, Commonwealth Veterinary Association and the vice president, Small Animal Veterinary Association of Nigeria, Dr Tunji Nasiru said there was lack of action against rabies in the country.
“People are dying of rabies and there is this conspiracy of silence, nobody is talking about it. The professional bodies are supposed to be doing this. The government and communities are supposed to own it. So I will enjoy the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, the Nigerian Medical Association and all other relevant associations who are involved in the control of rabies to do something because people are just dying.
“This is not something that we pay lip service to it. Is it because it is not HIV/AIDS? Is it because it is not malaria? Or is it because there is no money to be made? I think it is high time we did something about it,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the president, Society for Rabies in West Africa, Professor Albert Bankole Ogunkoya said there was evidence in all African countries that rabies has been declared endemic and neglected zoonotic diseases.
“Majority of African countries have not prioritised the eradication of rabies resulting in the failure to allocate adequate budgetary resources and political will usually seen as the driving force in the elimination of the disease among dogs and consequently its elimination in humans as done in other countries where the disease has been successfully eliminated,” the professor said.