ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Science & Technology Report) – The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu (Dr) has said that the Ministry is gearing towards construction of a facility for the production of sterile male Tsetse flies aimed at eventually eradicating their population.
Ogbonnaya Onu revealed this when he declared open the 35th International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISTRC) on Monday September 23, 2019 in Abuja. He also informed that the tsetse fly has posed very serious problems to livestock production as well as human health in Africa.
“Its effective control has become absolutely necessary for us in Africa, in order to attain self-sufficiency in livestock production as well as maintain human health. On the leadership role taken by Nigeria to eradicate the scourge of tsetse flies all over the continent, Nigeria will indeed lead Africa in the fight against tsetse fly. We will work closely with African countries to reclaim our lands from these flies,” he mentioned.
“Effectively controlling tsetse fly is a task that must be done, in view of the fact that Africa is made up of young people with increasing population. Achieving this will help us feed ourselves, remain healthy, grow our economy and create jobs for our people.”
The Minister expressed confidence in the capacity of the outcome of the deliberations at the conference to guide the adoption of scientifically – based decisions and strategies for the control of tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis.
He also called for synergy and coordinated effort by African nations to confront the menace, adding that tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis respect no borders. He saluted African Governments for the establishment of the Pan-African Tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis Control (PATTEC) initiative.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Bitrus Bako Nabasu said that the conference would aid in the development of better strategies for improved resources, commitment and sustained political drive towards the control and eventual elimination of tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis.
The representative of the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ahmed El-Sawalthy (Prof) avowed that it was time to re-evaluate the achievements made to find lasting solutions to the challenges of tsetse fly eradication and trypanosomiasis elimination. He commended the efforts made by the World Health Organization to provide trypanosomiasis medication free – of – charge.
He added that successful application of Sterile Insect Technique on Zanzibar Island to eradicate the disease demonstrated the possibility of eradication.