Dr. Ayoola Oduntan has practiced as a veterinarian since 1990 and has become an authority the younger veterinarians can look up to due to his immense experience. In this interview granted after a clinical seminar organised by the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Lagos State chapter to mark the World Veterinary day 2019, Oduntan expressed worry about quackery in the profession. He however advised the public to beware of quacks camouflaging as veterinarians. He also enlightened on the made in Nigeria Noiler breed of fowls which he said was a product of 15 years experiment. He also talked about the importance of vaccines. DAYO EMMNANUEL here reports.
How is your profession dealing with the issue of quackery?
First thing is that we have to appeal to those who require veterinary services to insist on establishing validity on the claim of the profession. The other thing is that we are going to bring the full weight of the law down on those who are involved in quackery thereby adding to the problems of farmers and pet owners around the country.
You even mentioned that quackery is a function of the lapses in the profession where every professional veterinarian is culpable at some point or the other. How do you address this among your other professionals?
We have to be observant. We have to make sure that we take very good care of our customers such that they do not resort to looking for cheaper alternatives supplied by the quacks to make sure that all the companies and assets within the industries stay committed to working with the right channels; making sure we don’t sell drugs, vaccines, to people who don’t have professional license.
Can you tell briefly about Noiler; the history, the acceptance and its future. Is it sustainable?
Yes the future of Noiler is very bright. It took us about 15 years of research and development to be able to bring it to the market, we are very proud of the achievement , different types of weather, different types of conditions within the country. It is changing lives, it has been bringing nutrition to the malnourished, it has been bringing business, creating jobs. I think Noiler can make impact in the nutrition and the economy of Nigerians. I think we can make sure that the dream of Noiler is achievable not only in Nigeria but also in all parts of Africa.
Is Noiler made in Nigeria?
It is produced in Nigeria. We do not need to spend one Dollar unlike other birds that you need to import the parent stock, we do not need to spend one Dollar on Noiler, all the research and development have been done in Nigeria.
What does it take to be a veterinary doctor?
First of all you have to pass WAEC. You have to pass science subjects and pass JAMB but more importantly, you need to be passionate about livestock, about pets. Veterinary medicine is specialised profession; the people that are successful in it are the people that are passionate about the subject. Some have moved in the direction of horses, some in the direction of cattle, dogs and cats, some in the direction of poultry. So it is such a wide profession with immense opportunities.
How lucrative is this profession?
If you have a child, a son or a cousin who is trying to decide I will help you to decide. It is a very good course. It is very difficult course like people say it is one of the most difficult courses. There is only one kind of human being but there are different kinds of animals so you have to study cats and dogs, they have a different anatomy, you have for pigs, you have for dogs and cats, horses. So it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to get it and once you get it. You have different opportunities and in Nigeria, there are so many needs and if you can meet those needs, you will be successful.
You talked about importance of vaccines. Can you relate it to the day-to-day activities as in the importance of vaccines?
If you are a pet owner like was said by one of the speakers at the event, when you vaccinate your animal you are actually protecting yourself because the diseases like rabies and other diseases are in one way or the other transmissible to humans. So if you vaccinate your animals against these diseases you are actually protecting yourselves against the diseases especially the zoonotic ones. In poultry for instance or livestock production that are very big economic issues, vaccination could protect investments. Unlike before that people would tell you all your animals would die, now because of the development of vaccinations you can protect your livestock very well against most diseases. If you vaccinate them and the management is good, you will minimise deaths and these are multibillion Dollars investments and vaccines protect those investments.
You have been described as a hero of this profession; can you tell us what made you earn that description?
Well, you will first of all ask those who have given me that award. They would be best to tell you. What I have actually done is that I came into the veterinary medicine because I think I could make an impact and relevance in livestock production and by the grace of God, I have spent the last 29 years of my life working as a veterinarian and doing the best I can to excel in every way. I thank God we have been able to see modest results.